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Ward 4 Dispatch: Abandoned Vehicles, DC Budget, Farmers Markets, and Mother’s Day!

Dear Neighbors,

From supporting DC Circulator workers on the picket line and protesting at the Supreme Court to passing legislation and working to finalize the DC budget, it’s been a wild week! I wanted to report back on our work and other DC services, community resources, and neighborhood events that could be of interest to you. I also want to wish all of our amazing moms in Ward 4 a happy Mother’s Day! You are truly the bedrock of our families and our community. I hope you feel the love this weekend and have the wonderful day that you deserve!


Ward 4 and Legislative Updates

This week the Council had its final vote on my legislation to streamline DC’s removal of abandoned vehicles and passed the bill unanimously. Because the bill has no fiscal cost, it will become law in just a few days after it goes to the Mayor’s. This is constituent services legislation I authored to address an issue that residents in Ward 4 and across DC struggle to address: the removal of dangerous and abandoned vehicles from our neighborhoods. Abandoned vehicles aren’t just an eye sore; they take up very limited parking, draw rats, pose a danger with broken glass and metal shards, and exacerbate public safety issues. Yet last year DPW only removed the car in 7% of the abandoned vehicle complaints that came from the public. It’s common for these abandoned cars to sit idle in our streets for months or even years after their owners give them up.

My legislation gets at a key cause of these delays: the current overlapping and overly arduous definitions for what constitutes an abandoned or dangerous vehicle. By clarifying these definitions, our bill allows DPW to take faster action to remove these vehicles from our streets. And that’s not all: I’m also working with my colleagues to expand DPW’s boot crew and add additional impound lot space to address the lack of capacity that prevents the agency from removing more abandoned vehicles than they currently do. This will be accomplished through investments in the DC budget that we’re working to finalize this month. The bottom line: it will soon become much easier to remove abandoned cars from our communities, and government services will improve. The bill also modernized the relevant part of our criminal code by removing outdated, overly punitive criminal penalties for the abandoning of vehicles. I want to thank all the neighbors and Commissioners who worked with me to address this issue, especially ANC 4B, which passed a strong resolution on this issue.

First Major Budget Vote Happening This Tuesday

After months of budget hearings, committee mark ups, and budget work sessions, the Council is currently working to finalize DC’s budget for next fiscal year. On Monday, the Chairman is expected to release a revised budget, which will be followed by a legislative session on Tuesday where Councilmembers can propose and vote on amendments to the budget. While there will be two more budget votes before the budget is finalized, Tuesday is the main opportunity to make changes because it’s the only day where we can simultaneously make changes to both the proposed DC budget and the proposed legislative language accompanying the budget (which determines where funding is spent). While there are some great investments secured in the budget already, I’m pushing for additional investments in Ward 4 areas such as our schools and our seniors, as well as more support for critical priorities like aid to excluded workers and services for survivors of domestic violence. Next Friday I’ll have a detailed update on everything that happens next week, but you can also stay in the loop by watching Tuesday’s legislative session or following my page on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram for realtime updates. We’re almost at the finish line!

Ward 4 Public Safety Updates

As we work to finalize the DC budget, my primary focus is on doing what it takes to make our community safe – in every sense of the word. That includes acting now to disrupt violence and reduce harm in the short term, but also to make the the long-term investments that are necessary to build lasting peace. I wanted to share some updates related to public safety in Ward 4. First, I met with the DC Attorney General’s office and InnerCity Collaborative, the organization that will run Ward 4’s Cure the Streets violence interruption site. They are in the process of hiring and training their team in May with plans to launch the site in June. They are looking for a storefront location to host their team in Petworth or Brightwood Park, so if you know of any locations that are available, please get in touch with us. Secondly, MPD recently announced that arrests were made in response to the recent disturbing assault of a neighbor in Petworth. MPD has also released video of a suspect in a recent shooting on Kennedy Street. Neighbors are encouraged to call 202-727-9099 or text 50411 with any information related to the suspect (there’s a $10,000 reward). As your Councilmember, I’m coordinating with every agency to ensure that there is accountability, and to ensure that every part of DC government is doing its part to address the conditions that allow violence to proliferate in our community. A new study calculates that each fatal shooting costs the District more than $1.5 million dollars in total expenses for health care, law enforcement investigation, prosecution, incarceration, social services and compensation for victims, and more. The study underscores how critical it is to invest in evidence-based programs and services that reduce gun violence in our community. I will continue doing everything I can to improve safety in Ward 4 and address the root causes of gun violence.

Celebrating an Amazing Petworth PorchFest!

I also want to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers, hosts, sponsors, artists, and neighbors who made Petworth PorchFest such a special day! The festival included more than 120 performances on over 75 porches and stages across Petworth, but also in Sixteenth Street Heights, Brightwood Park, Fort Totten, and northern Columbia Heights. It was an amazing day full of music, art, neighborliness, and community. So kudos to everyone who played a part. And if you missed Petworth PorchFest or are looking to relive some of that magic, Takoma PorchFest is coming up on May 14 and the Home Rule Festival is being hosted at the Parks at Walter Reed this year on June 11.


Neighborhood Events

Uptown Farmers Market and Petworth Community Market Return This Saturday

On Saturday, May 7 starting from 9am until 1pm, the Uptown Farmers Market from FRESHFARM returns at the intersection of 14th St, & Kennedy St & Colorado Ave NW! I’ll be there to kick things off at 9am, so come celebrate with our community and get local, high-quality fruits, vegetables, meats, and breads. There will also be new programs featured, including composting. Meanwhile, the Petworth Community Market also returns this Saturday from 9am-1pm at 9th & Upshur NW! And the Chevy Chase Farmers Market is open year round on Saturdays from 9am-1pm at Lafayette Elementary (5701 Broad Branch Road NW).

Join Ward 4 CARE Day in Manor Park

On Thursday, May 12 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Manor Park starting from La Coop Coffee (5505 1st St NW). RSVP to join as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together.

NEW DATE: Mother’s Day Free Market and Stuff Swap by Ward 4 Mutual Aid

On Saturday, May 14 from 12pm-4pm at 6000 Georgia Ave (outside the corner of Quackenbos St NW) Ward 4 Mutual Aid will host a Mother’s Day free market and stuff swap where neighbors can bring and pick up gently-used strollers, car seats, toys, gear, and clothes for moms, children, and babies! Drop-offs begin as early as 9am, and event will shift to the following Saturday if it’s raining.

Don’t Miss Out on the Whittier Spring Carnival

On Saturday, May 14 from 11am-3pm Whittier Elementary will host its spring carnival on the Coolidge High School track with food and fun for families. The cost of admission is $25 per child, and children must be accompanied by adults. Hope you can make it!

Community Clean Up and Ice Cream Social in Brightwood Park

On Saturday, May 14 from 11am-1pm Networkhair and Networkteens are hosting a community clean up and ice cream social event on the 5300 block and 5400 block of 4th St NW in Brightwood Park. Please contact Ms. Didi Green at Networkteens1@gmail.com with any questions. Community service hours are offered for attendees!

Lamond Riggs Boys and Girls Club Reunion and Community Welcoming

On Saturday, May 14 from 12pm-4pm the Riggs LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Rd NE) will host a reunion and community welcoming to celebrate the rich history and legacy of the Lamond Riggs Boys & Girls Recreation Club. The reunion will acknowledge the past and present of this community landmark who have benefited or supported the LRBGC in building the lives of successful women and men. Learn more about the event on this web page.

RESCHEDULED: DDOT Crestwood Traffic Safety Walkthrough

On Friday, May 20 at 3:30pm, Councilmember Lewis George and DDOT Director Lott will lead a traffic safety walkthrough in Crestwood starting from 16th & Blagden Avenue NW. We will visit nearby intersections so DDOT can directly assess and hear from neighbors about the need for specific traffic improvements in the neighborhood. This walkthrough was rescheduled due to an unexpected emergency on DDOT’s part.


Community Resources

DC Circulator Drivers Secure Fair Contract and End Strike

Some much-needed good news on the labor and transit front: after a week on strike, DC Circulator drivers secured a new contract with major pay and benefit improvements. I was proud to join the workers on the picket line and support their fight to earn the same wages as WMATA bus drivers who drive on the same streets. Starting today, DC Circulator service is back to normal.

Small Pay Boost for Jury Duty in DC

If you live in DC, chances are that you will be called up for jury duty. DC Superior Court recently announced that starting this week, residents serving jury duty will have a slightly increased level of compensation. The daily compensation rate will go from $40 to $50 and the daily travel subsidy will increase from $5 to $7.

Provide Feedback for the Georgia Avenue Bus Priority Project

DDOT is in the early stages of planning for the Georgia Avenue NW Bus Priority Project. This project will improve bus operations and safety along the Georgia Avenue corridor from Barry Place to Kansas Ave NW – with long-term plans to also extend improvements all the way up to Eastern Avenue. DDOT is requesting feedback from residents on what improvements should be made as part of this project. Use this form to weigh in!

Last Week to Weigh In on the Draft Chevy Chase Small Area Plan (CCSAP)

The Office of Planning is seeking public comments related to the Chevy Chase Small Area Plan (CCSAP) by Friday, May 13. Download the draft Chevy Chase Small Area Plan and submit comment on the project website. You can also view the recording of the public hearing on the draft CCSAP that took place on April 26 with 32 residents testifying.

Participate in the Takoma DC and Takoma Park Community Yard Sales

If you live in the Takoma neighborhood of DC or in nearby Takoma Park, community-wide yard/porch/garage/sidewalk/rummage sales are back next weekend on May 14-15. To participate, email tkpkyardsales@gmail.com by Monday, May 9 and share the date, time, address of your yard sale, as well as a short description of items up for sale. They will publicize your yard sale with neighbors and help you get the word out! 

Increased Metro Service on the Green Line and Yellow Line

WMATA announced that they have increased service on the Yellow Line and Green Line. Train frequencies for each line will increase from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes, meaning stations serviced by both lines will see trains every 7-8 minutes.

Ward 4 COVID Center Closed on Saturday, May 14

On Saturday, May 14 the Ward 4 COVID Center at Peoples Congregational Church (4704 13th St NW) will be closed to accommodate previously scheduled services at the church.

iHealth Rapid Antigen COVID Tests Get Three-Month Shelf Extension

If you’ve stocked up on rapid antigen COVID tests from DC Health, there should be a “use by” date on the back of the box. While the use-by dates are coming up for many of our tests, the FDA has granted a three-month shelf-life extension for the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test, meaning you can use them up to three months after the date listed on the package.

Did you miss last Friday’s newsletter? Catch up on what you missed at this link.


Like so many of us, I was profoundly disturbed by news that the Supreme Court plans to strike down Roe v. Wade and repeal the reproductive rights that generations of women have fought for. The institution responsible for defending our liberties is voting to strip us of the fundamental right to control our own bodies. And as always, it will be poor communities and communities of color who suffer most. I have so much to say about the hypocrisy and cruelty of this decision, but I will limit myself to what is most important in this moment:

  1. DC remains a pro-choice city where residents have access to abortion care.
  2. Our city will fight as a united front to protect DC residents’ reproductive rights.
  3. This impending decision heightens the urgency of securing DC Statehood and removing Congress’ control over our affairs.

I promise to do everything I can as a legislator and as a community leader to stand up for what is right — from the DC Council to the Supreme Court.

Yours in Community,
—Janeese