Check out all of my updates ahead of our last legislative session before summer recess, as well as Ward 4 news, community resources, city services, and local events below.
Ward 4 and Legislative News
Legislative Updates As We Approach Summer Recess
As we work to wrap up our legislative work before summer recess, one of the issues my team and I have been focused on is addressing maintenance issues at our rec centers. We did the readiness tour of all Ward 4 rec centers and community centers in May and have been working with DGS and DPR to address each of the key priorities identified. DGS has issued an update on Takoma pool, and we’re currently waiting on the necessary part to repair Emery’s HVAC system. I visited Emery on Tuesday morning as kids received their breakfasts, observed the heat, and brought DPR’s director in to improve conditions with spot coolers and make the necessary changes to where our summer camps are based while these repairs take place. There will be a Council Oversight Roundtable on DPR’s summer operations on July 13, and community members can make their voice heard by signing up to testify at this link by close of business on July 11 or sending in written comments to email@example.com.
This week we had an important hearing on the proposed Chevy Chase Small Area Plan, which will guide development in the Chevy Chase area. While the plan does not cover Ward 4, it impacts the lives of Ward 4 residents west of Rock Creek Park. I had the opportunity to hear from community witnesses and press the Office of Planning about its specific goals to make the neighborhood more equitable and inclusive. I will continue to be engaged in the work of implementing the Small Area Plan to push for innovative and sensible investments in housing, businesses, and infrastructure, such as those envisioned in my Green New Deal for Housing legislation. We also had a Judiciary Committee hearing on legislation that would extend the right to vote in local elections to permanent residents in DC. This bill has been proposed in several past Council sessions, but this is the first time the bill has had a legislative hearing, and it seems to be gaining momentum. The issue is particularly important for Ward 4, which is the home to many of our immigrant neighbors who are currently disenfranchised. The people of DC know all too well the injustice of being denied the right to vote on the representatives who shape our laws. DC will become a stronger and more equitable city if we expand our democracy to include permanent residents.
This Tuesday, July 12, the Council will have its final legislative session before summer recess. This session will likely include votes on the proposed Chevy Chase Small Area Plan and (potentially) the DCPS Tech Equity Act that I proposed last year to expand access to technology in our schools. It will also include any emergency bills we need to pass before recess. One of the areas we’re focused on is school readiness for the fall. I am working with the Chairman right now to draft an emergency measure that will help ensure that our students return to safe, well-resourced learning environments.
Preparing for Citi Open Tournament in Ward 4
The prestigious Citi Open tennis tournament returns to Ward on July 30-August 7 at Carter Barron (5220 16th St NW). I wanted to share some of the preparations being made to mitigate the impact placed on nearby residents. Parking for the tournament will be available on the lot adjacent to the tennis courts and on the grass fields, while satellite parking will also be available in Friendship Heights, with shuttles running throughout the day. There will also be a rideshare drop-off point available for individuals using taxis, Lyft, or Uber. Parking will be restricted in nearby streets throughout the tournament to prevent attendees from parking in residential streets, but weeklong parking passes will be delivered to impacted neighbors (two passes per household) so they can continue parking on their street. A map will be released in the coming days showing which streets will have parking restricted and passes distributed, but the map will be expanded compared to last year’s map. Parking passes should be displayed from July 29-August 7, and if any residents inadvertently receive parking tickets, they should contact the Ward 4 MOCRs at firstname.lastname@example.org to resolve them. If any resident impacted by parking restrictions does not receive their passes or needs additional passes, they can go to MPD’s Fourth District and receive additional passes after they verify their address with an ID. Meanwhile, tickets are available for purchase on the Citi Open website, which also has the full lineup of players and schedule.
Office of Caribbean Community Affairs Begins Work
With its newly-nominated director Natalee Snider, the Office of Caribbean Community Affairs has officially begun its work serving our communities. Caribbean-American residents advocated for years to create this importance resource in order to preserve Caribbean-American heritage and help meet the Caribbean community’s needs in our city. This is especially important for Ward 4, which is the unofficial home of the Caribbean community. Director Snider hopes to hear input from community members regarding the programs the office will take on. She plans to improve outreach to the Caribbean community, share city resources, support Caribbean small businesses, and potentially even return DC Caribbean Carnival to Georgia Avenue. On Monday, there will be a Council roundtable to consider her nomination to become permanent director. I look forward to working with Director Snider to advance the mission of the Office of Caribbean Community Affairs in support of our vibrant Caribbean community.
DC Residents 21+ Can Now Self-Certify Their Need for Medical Cannabis
As of July 6, DC residents who are at least 21 years old can now self-certify when applying for a medical cannabis patient registration, instead of having to secure a recommendation from their healthcare provider. By registering, DC residents can purchase cannabis from one of DC’s licensed dispensaries, including Takoma Wellness Center in Ward 4. Registering is completely free until August 18, and registrations issued through September 30 are valid for two years from date of issuance. The new self-certification flexibility is the result of DC Council legislation passed last week.
DC’s Minimum Wage Now Up to to $16.10 Per Hour
Effective July 1, DC’s minimum wage increases from $15.20 to $16.10 per hour – higher than any state in the country. For tipped workers, the tipped minimum wage also went up to $5.35 per hour, with employers required to make up the difference to $16.10 if not covered by tips. DC residents will have the opportunity to approve extending the regular minimum wage for tipped workers with Initiative 82 during the November 8 general election. Be sure to spread the word about DC’s minimum wage to ensure each worker in DC receives the pay they are entitled to. In addition to a high minimum wage, DC guarantees paid family leave, paid sick leave, bans the box, and has strong protections against wage theft.
Help Is Here for DC Homeowners Who Fell Behind
The $50 million DC received in federal relief funds are now available for DC homeowners who fell behind during the pandemic. This program can cover up to $120,000 per eligible household in mortgage payments and other expenses, such as: housing association fees, condo fees, coop fees, property taxes, utilities, internet bills, and more. To be eligible, you must be a DC homeowner with your home serving as your primary residence since June 2021, must have fallen behind on housing or utility expenses, must fall within the income guidelines, and must have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. The program is very broad in its benefits and inclusive in its eligibility, so please apply if these funds could support you. To learn more or apply for these essential funds, visit haf.dc.gov. If you need any support with applying, please let me know.
Paid Family Leave Payments to Resume
Due to an ongoing major service disruption with a vendor, DC’s paid family leave payments were delayed over the past two weeks. Last night, DOES issued payments to recipients who were supposed to receive their payments on June 28 and July 6. Recipients can expect those payments to appear in their accounts with the next 24-48 hours. If you are still experiencing delays, please contact the Labor Committee for assistance with your claim.
Update on Takoma Pool Repairs
This week DGS issued an update on the delayed repairs at Takoma Aquatic Center. The agency expects to complete the necessary pool renovations the week of July 25. Once repairs are completed, the pool will need to be inspected by DC Health and staffed by DPR before it can reopen. DGS expects the pool to reopen sometime in August pending no unforeseen delays, and the agency apologized for the inconvenience caused by the extended timeline. I have been pushing for an end to long closure of Takoma pool through regular communication and oversight questions with DPR and DGS, as well as an in-person inspection in late May. Our community is ready to have its pool back! In the meantime, please consider visiting Roosevelt Pool for indoor swimming and Upshur Pool for outdoor swimming.
DC Health Communication and Vaccines for Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with body fluid or monkeypox lesions. DC has had 60 confirmed Monkeypox cases, with the first DC case confirmed on June 4. Please visit DC Health’s dedicated webpage about Monkeypox for more information on the outbreak, symptoms, transmission, and prevention. Due to limited availability of the monkeypox vaccine, DC Health is currently unable to schedule new appointments for the monkeypox vaccine clinic, but residents can sign up for updates when new vaccine doses become available in the coming weeks. DC Health is currently prioritizing high-risk groups given how limited supply currently is. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk, and it’s important to not create a stigma around this disease and ensure everyone is taking precautions.
Annual Riggs Park Art Crawl
On Friday, July 8 from 10am-3pm and Saturday, July 9 from 10am-3pm The Parks Main Street is hosting its annual Riggs Park Art Crawl at Culture Coffee Too (300 Riggs Rd NE). Come out for two days of celebrating community and the arts with vendors, live painting, yoga, music, double dutch, self defense, spoken word, and a youth dance troupe.
“Joy By Any Means” Opening Reception at Art of Noize Gallery
On Saturday, July 9 from 7pm-10pm Art of Noize Gallery in Petworth (821 Upshur St NW, Rear) will host an opening reception for their new “Joy By Any Means” exhibition featuring the work of artist Candy Carver. Carver is a self-taught artist who creates electric and brightly colored contemporary artwork that encompasses bold colors and utilizes abstract design, alongside figurative subjects.
Summer in the Parks at Fort Circle Park and Fort Slocum
On Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm throughout the summer, the National Parks Service and Rock Creek Conservancy are hosting Summer in the Parks events with family-friendly games, activities, and music at parks across our community. They will be at Fort Circle Park on July 13, July 20, and July 27 and at Fort Slocum on August 3, August 10, August 17, and August 24. Join them as they bring our community together, celebrate our urban oases, and recreate responsibly in our parks.
LATE NIGHT HYPE Block Party at Emery Heights Community Center
On Friday, July 15 from 6pm-10pm DPR will hold a Late Night Hype block party at Emery Heights Community Center (5701 Georgia Ave NW) featuring bounce house, music, food, video games, and more! People of all ages are invited to enjoy the extended hours, music, and good vibes at Emery.
Fort Stevens Day Commemorating the Battle of Fort Stevens
On Saturday, July 16 from 10am-2pm the National Park Service and the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defense of Washington will jointly host Fort Stevens Day, which commemorates the historic Civil War Battle of Fort Stevens, the only time in the nation’s history that a sitting President (Lincoln) came under direct enemy fire. This year’s event will focus on the role of women in the Civil War Defenses of Washington and will feature historical reenactors, speakers, children’s activities, live authentic music, food trucks, drinks, bathrooms on site, and a cooling space at the Emory building if needed.
Organizing Skillshare with Ward 4 Mutual Aid
On Saturday, July 16 at 11am Ward 4 Mutual Aid will host an organizing skillshare workshop at Mosaic Church of the Nazarene (16th and Webster NW). They’ll discuss how we can build relationships with our neighbors around common mutual aid goals. Please RSVP if you plan to attend, and donuts and coffee will be provided!
Jazz in the Parks at Walter Reed: Brent Birckhead
On Saturday, July 16 from 5pm-8pm the Parks at Walter Reed will host their next Jazz in the Parks event on the Great Lawn with award-winning Saxophonist Brent Birckhead performing at 6pm. Before that, favorite children’s performer Baba Ras D will perform at 5:30pm. Bring your own picnic blanket, lawn chairs, and refreshments, and enjoy popular food trucks, including J&J Taqueria, Pepe (José Andrés’ food truck), Capital Kettle Corn, and ice cream! Three Stars Brewing Co. will also bring the beer for purchase.
Engagement Meeting with Ward 4 Mutual Aid
On Tuesday, July 19 at 8pm Ward 4 Mutual Aid will host their next engagement meeting via Zoom. This is a great opportunity for Ward 4 residents to learn more about how to receive goods or volunteer and the variety of ways to get involved. Sign up for the meeting through W4MA’s volunteer page. And check out their general flyer for more ways to plug into Ward 4 Mutual Aid and the work they do for our community.
DPR Jazz in the Parks Series in Ward 4
DPR is hosting a series of pop-up Jazz in the Parks music and art installations at parks across DC, including in Ward 4. The events are free and feature local artists, musicians, and civic demonstrations celebrating DC culture. Ward 4 Jazz in the Parks events are taking place on:
- Thursday, July 21 at 6:30pm at the Shepherd Park Rec Center (7800 14th St NW)
- Thursday, July 28 at 6:30pm at the Riggs LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Rd NE)
- Thursday, August 11 at 6:30pm at the Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW)
DPR Summer 2022 Outdoor Movie Nights in Ward 4
One of the best summer traditions in DC are outdoor movie nights. Check out the outdoor movie screenings hosted by DPR’s Roving Leaders this summer, including many at our Ward 4 parks and rec centers. Please keep in mind that outdoor movie nights are subject to cancellation due to weather.
- Saturday, July 9 at 7pm: Fort Stevens Rec Center, 1327 Van Buren St NW
- Tuesday, July 12 at 7pm: Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center, 501 Riggs Rd NE
- Friday, July 15 at 7pm: Emery Heights Community Center @ Late Night Hype, 5701 Georgia Ave NW
- Thursday, July 21 at 7pm: Larry Allen Park, Illinois Ave & 9th St NW (Turning Red)
- Tuesday, July 26 at 7pm: Petworth Rec Center, 801 Taylor St NW
- Tuesday, August 16 at 7pm: Upshur Park, 4300 Arkansas Ave NW
And visit your local Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:
- Uptown Farmers Market at 5501 Colorado Ave NW
- Petworth Community Market at 9th & Upshur NW
- Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette Elementary
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It felt strange to mark Fourth of July when so many of our rights are under assault, but it was still good to be in community this past holiday weekend at the annual Soldiers Home Independence Day event. It was a certainly a bright spot during the holiday weekend. Thank you to all who volunteered or joined the festivities, including everyone I got to chat with.
I hope we can continue to find ways to rejuvenate our spirits and be in community. The road ahead of us is long, and we will need one another to stand up for our rights and keep each other safe.
Yours in Service,