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Ward 4 Dispatch: Legislative Recap, Weekend Pool Access, and Down in the Reeds!

Dear Neighbors,

I’m back after a busy week with our community and Council updates. You’re the first to hear about my newest bill to expand weekend access to DC indoor pools, and I’ll have several more bills to share with you next week. I also report back on our Council’s legislative session on Tuesday and everything we passed. And this Saturday is our Down in the Reeds Festival at the Parks at Walter Reed! Check out more on that and other events and resources below:

Ward 4 and Council News

Down in The Reeds Festival on Saturday

The third annual Down in the Reeds Festival is finally here on Saturday, October 8 from 11am-7pm at the Parks at Walter Reed. The festival is a free, all-ages, fall, music, and art festival celebrating the power of music to heal across communities and cultures. They’ll have three stages of live music, workshops, and collaborative performances — as well as highlights like Plant Music Yoga, a family arts and crafts area, a collaborative mural, a historical scavenger hunt, lawn games, and live murals. The Zenith Community Arts Foundation will also have its innovative Mobile Woodshop at the festival offering free interactive woodworking activities from 11am-6pm! Finally, the festival will feature local food trucks, coffee from Lost Sock Roasters, beer from Atlas Brew Work, and cider and wine from Anxo. Check out the full schedule of performances and activations. This is the largest music festival of the year in Ward 4 and it’s free, so don’t miss out!

Please bear in mind that there is no public parking on site. Attendees are encouraged to take the MetroRail or MetroBus, use rideshare, walk or bike. If you are driving, there are three paid parking garage options at the Vale Parking Garage on Cameron Drive (limited space), Abrams Hall Parking Garage entrance through 16th St (limited space), and Children’s National Parking Garage at 7185 13th Place NW (cheapest option). If you live at the Parks at Walter Reed, please note that several roads on campus will be closed to all traffic (except for a fire lane left open for emergencies). Here is more information on street closures at the Parks.

Legislative Recap from the DC Council

On Tuesday, the Council held its latest legislative session, where we acted on several impactful bills. Here are some highlights from Tuesday. As a reminder, permanent legislation requires two full votes before the Council to become law — and if there is a cost to implement it, the bill needs to be funded before it can go into effect.

  • The Council held the first of two votes to pass the Election Modernization Act, which codifies the option of voting by mail for future elections, requires at least 55 ballot drop boxes to be placed across DC for elections, allows voters to vote at any vote center regardless of their assigned precinct, and permanently allows DCPS educators and staff to run for seats on the State Board of Election. These are important measures to strengthen our democracy and increase participation in elections.
  • We passed the first of two votes on Councilmember Trayon White’s Stormiyah Denson-Jackson Economic Damages Equity Act, which bans the use of race, ethnicity, or gender in calculating damages in personal injury or death lawsuits. We can never accept the devaluing of human life.
  • We passed Councilmember Charles Allen’s bill to increase support for crime victims on its first vote. The bill expands eligibility for who is eligible for support under DC’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund, adding residents whose homes or cars were struck by bullets under the new criteria. It also improves hospital violence intervention programs, expands access to counseling services, and strengthens protections for victims who secure a stay-away court order.
  • We also had the first successful vote on legislation from Councilmember Nadeau and Councilmember Henderson to strengthen DC’s protections for reproductive rights and safeguard anyone who travels to the District for abortion care. DC will not cooperate with efforts by other states to criminalize abortion.
  • In addition, we passed the first of two votes on legislation that will allow noncitizen DC residents to vote in our local elections, provided they have lived in DC for at least 30 days and complete the requirements needed to register to vote. Our city becomes stronger and more just when everyone has a voice. Immigrants in our communities deserve to have a say in the government policies that deeply impact their lives. DC residents know all too well the steep price of disenfranchisement.
  • The Council also passed the District Government Paid Leave Enhancement Act on its second and final vote to expand paid family leave benefits for DC government employees to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, paid medical leave, and paid family leave — as well as two weeks of paid prenatal leave. The bill still needs to be funded before it can be implemented. The Mayor can propose to fund it right away, or the Council can fund it in next fiscal year’s budget.
  • Lastly, the Council passed a temporary bill creating an Office of Migrant Services to provide short-term support to asylum seekers being bused to the District. This is a long overdue and necessary resource to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Governors of Texas and Arizona trafficking migrants to our city — a dehumanizing political stunt. While I support creating this office, I voted no on the legislation because the bill explicitly excludes migrants who choose to stay in DC and some current immigrant DC residents from accessing our homelessness services. Being a sanctuary city means welcoming migrants whether they’re coming to DC temporarily or settling here for good. I will work with my colleagues to resolve these issues in the permanent version of the bill.

New Legislation: Weekend Equal Access to Swimming Act

Now that the summer is over, our indoor pools are even more important. Our seniors, young people, and families enjoy them throughout the year. DC has great public pool facilities. Yet for all the resources we dedicate to building, maintaining, and operating our public pools, many go underutilized. I often hear from residents frustrated that Roosevelt pool does not offer weekend hours. Across DC, all five of our school-based indoor pools are closed on Saturdays and Sundays: Roosevelt in Ward 4, Dunbar in Ward 5, Woodson in Ward 7, Ballou in Ward 8, and Ferebee-Hope in Ward 8. By contrast, all of our DCPS-adjacent pools (Wilson and Marie Reed) and DPR standalone pools (like Takoma and Turkey Thicket) are open at least one day each weekend. So today, I am introducing the Weekend Equal Access to Swimming Amendment Act to require all of DC’s publicly-owned indoor aquatic facilities to be open to the public at least one weekend day per week. The bill is co-introduced by Councilmembers Bonds, Silverman, Allen, Pinto, Nadeau, and Robert White. Opening our school-based pools at least one day each weekend will provide our communities additional recreation opportunities, enable more convenient times for exercise, expand capacity for classes and events, and ease the regular crowding at our public pools. I’ll also be announcing more constituent services-related legislation next week!

Community Resources

Modified DC Services for Indigenous Peoples Day

Monday, October 10 is Indigenous Peoples Day. Here is a breakdown on how the holiday will impact DC city services. In short, COVID Centers, Monkeypox clinics, and outdoor DPR facilities will remain open, but the DMV, DCPS schools parking enforcement, and DPR indoor facilities will be closed. DPW household trash and recycling collection will slide a day forward until Saturday. Taking public transit? Here are WMATA’s service adjustments for the holiday.

How to Vote in the DC 2022 General Election

Check your mailboxes! Earlier this week, the DC Board of Elections started mailing out ballots for the 2022 DC General Election to all registered voters in DC. Residents can check their voter registration status and address at this link, and they can register to vote or update their registration at this link. 55 mail ballot drop boxes across the District will open by October 14, and residents can also return their completed ballot by mail or in person at any voting center. Early voting will run from October 31 to November 6, and General Election Day is November 8, 2022. Here is a guide with all the information you need on voting this year!

LRCA Survey on the Greenspace at Riggs Rd & South Dakota Ave NE

The Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association is surveying the community regarding the unused DC-owned greenspace at the southwest corner of the intersection of Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue, NE, near Food and Friends. Take part in this short survey. Responses are needed by Saturday, October 15.

Fort Totten Transfer Station to Reopen in June 2023

DPW is continuing to make improvements to Fort Totten Transfer Station, which closed temporarily for repairs in April. This week, DPW announced that Fort Totten will reopen come June 2023. In the meantime, residential operations including bulk, trash, and recycling drop-off are available at Benning Road Transfer Station on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10am-2pm. Bulk trash can also be scheduled for pickup through the 311 website, app, or call center.

Neighborhood Events

Music and Movie Night on Kennedy Street

On Friday, October 7 from 5pm – 9pm there will be a free music and movie night at the parking lot of Johnson & Jenkins Parking Lot (716 Kennedy Street NW) featuring games, activities, live music, free food, and a screening of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Thank you to our Kennedy Street businesses for coming together to host this event for our youth!

Sidewalk Palooza in Manor Park

On Saturday, October 8 at 10am 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Nichole Johnson will host a Sidewalk Palooza event in Manor Park starting from Fort Slocum (5800 Kansas Ave NW). Join neighbors to walk, roll, bike, scoot, or drive around the neighborhood to report any issues with the sidewalks via 311 or alert the Commissioner to enter a 311 request.

Down in the Reeds Festival at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, October 8 from 11am-7pm Down in the Reeds returns to the Parks at Walter Reed as the largest fall celebration and music festival in Ward 4! They have an incredible schedule of music, activities, art, crafts, games, vendors, food, and drinks for all neighbors to enjoy across several stages. RSVP for FREE at this link. You won’t want to miss this!

Sunday Sessions At Art of Noize in Petworth

On Sunday, October 9 from 6pm-9pm Art of Noize Gallery in Petworth will host a Sunday Sessions event featuring a DJ set from WPFW’s musical curator Aphrosoul, a house band, and then an open floor for anyone to share their art. Join this evening of creativity, fellowship, and collaboration. Buy your tickets on Eventbrite.

Takoma Sidewalk Fun for Sidewalk Palooza

On Saturday, October 15 at 2pm 4B02 Commissioner Erin Palmer and 4B01 Commissioner Evan Yeats will host a Sidewalk Palooza event outside of Takoma Elementary School. They’ll meet with neighbors outside of Takoma Elementary School to walk, talk, and sidewalk chalk about pedestrian safety and infrastructure. There will be events and goodies for kids and families. Come to document Takoma’s pedestrian infrastructure needs and build community.

Fall Festival Block Party on 13th & Quincy NW 

On Saturday, October 15 from 3pm-7pm neighbors around 13th and Quincy NW are organizing a Fall Festival Block Party with music, games, and food. If you live in the neighborhood, come out to celebrate with your neighbors and bring food to grill. Please email for more information.

Outdoor STEAM Experience with Movies on the Lawn  

On Saturday, October 15 from 4:30pm-9pm The Parks at Walter Reed will host a free family STEAM outing with delicious food, snacks, and craft beverages provided by local vendors, as well as a huge screen for the whole crowd to enjoy. There will be a STEAM play area and showcase at 4:30pm-6:30pm, a screening of ENCANTO at 6:30pm, and a short film screening of DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World at 8:30pm. Blankets will be available (if the ground isn’t too wet). Bring your own chairs, picnics, and popcorn to enjoy this family-friendly lineup

Ward 4 Senior Jubilee at Fort Stevens!

On Wednesday, October 19 from 1pm-3pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 Senior Jubilee Festival from 1pm-3pm at Fort Stevens Recreation Center (1327 Van Buren St NW) in Brightwood! I’m inviting Ward 4 senior citizens to join us for an afternoon of live music, dancing, food, and a senior-focused resource fair. Sign up here to attend or call my office at 202-724-8052 to reserve your spot.

Local Links

Washington Post: Tom Sietsema’s Top 5 restaurants in the DC area (Hitching Post)

Washington Post: 4 concerts to catch in the DC area (Down in the Reeds)

DC Public Schools: Powell Foreman Rodney McDaniel Wins Standing Ovation Award

Petworth NewsMacFarland’s new Principal is a Petworth resident and a DCPS parent

Petworth News: Neighbor shows how a “green roof” yields multiple benefits

PetitionDC School Communities Demand Safe Routes to School

DCist: Rock Creek Park’s Zoo Loop Trail, Pedestrian Bridge Open This Weekend

Last Ward 4 Dispatch: Open Streets, Coffee Shops, and Paid Family Leave Expansion

I also want to share words of love for Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year! I had the chance to join the Hattie Holmes community’s celebration this week and present a Council resolution I passed in honor of our senior center. Shoutout to Director Teresa Moore, who has been at Hattie Holmes for 14 of its 15 years. I’m looking forward to the next 15!

We had so many great conversations in Petworth during our CARE Day yesterday. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our resource fair at the Rec Center, joined us for outreach, or took time to chat at their door or read the materials we left behind. A kind family even gave me a seltzer to keep me hydrated while visiting neighbors! Join us for our final CARE Day for this year on Thursday, October 27 in Brightwood Park.  

Please take some time to enjoy the fall weather this holiday weekend, Ward 4!

Yours in Service,