From wildfire smoke descending upon the DMV to a black bear roaming DC streets, it has been quite the week here! Thankfully, the air quality has improved considerably today and is expected to continue to improve over the weekend. Still, please keep an eye on the Air Quality Index for your zip code and consider taking precautions — especially at-risk groups like seniors, children, and people with heart and lung conditions. And do not forget that trash and recycling collection was paused on Thursday to safeguard the health of our DPW workers, so collection the rest of this week is ‘sliding’ one day later than usual.
My newsletter this week includes updates on relief for tenants in rent control buildings, legislation we passed on infertility treatment, Council hearing updates, Caribbean Restaurant Week, a special election for 4C07 Commissioner, two big Pride celebrations in Ward 4, the 155th Annual Strawberry Festival, our Ward 4 CARE Day in Sixteenth Street Heights, the Home Rule Festival, events, resources, local news, and much more! Looking forward to next week: stay tuned for a breakdown of the final DC budget since our vote on the Budget Support Act was moved to this coming Tuesday. I will also begin a tour of more than 20 schools and recreation centers citywide as part of my ongoing work as Chair of the Facilities and Family Services Committee to improve how DC maintains and repairs its buildings. Let’s get into it all:
Caribbean Restaurant Week in Ward 4
Ward 4 is the proud home base of DC’s vibrant Caribbean-American community. All throughout June, we are celebrating National Caribbean-American Heritage Month and reflecting on the great contributions of our Caribbean-American communities to Ward 4 and all of the District. One special way to be part of the festivities is to participate in Caribbean-American Restaurant Week on June 11-17. By visiting Ward 4’s Caribbean restaurants, we can support the businesses that preserve Caribbean cuisine and culture, provide valuable jobs and entrepreneurship, and serve as a hub for community life. To make the deal even sweeter, this year my office will give away two free Nationals tickets to the first ten Ward 4 residents who visit at least three Caribbean restaurants in Ward 4 during Restaurant Week! All you need to do is visit three of our Caribbean restaurants in Ward 4 between June 11-17 and email a receipt of your three meals (or more) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We call that a win-win!
Relief for Tenants in Rent Control Units
This week we took action to provide relief to tenants in rent controlled housing who were facing massive rent hikes up to 8.9% this year. We passed an amendment I co-introduced with Councilmembers Robert White and Brooke Pinto to limit rent increases to 6% this year and 12% over two years — and to limit rent hikes to 4% this year and 8% over two years for our seniors and tenants with disabilities. This is real relief for tenants compared to the original 8.9% increase or the proposal for a 6.9% limit this year and 13.8% limit over two years that would have passed otherwise. Thousands of families, seniors, and people with disabilities in our city will save hundreds of dollars a year as a result — preventing many residents from being pushed out of DC and providing families with more savings to cover their basic needs. Because the Administration blocked the Council from passing emergency legislation earlier this year, some landlords of rent control buildings are raising rents by 8.9% before our legislation can take effect. We specifically included the two-year limit of 12% to help address this: if you receive an 8.9% rent hike this year, your increase next year can be no higher than 3.1%.
At the same time, I don’t believe in painting a pretty picture just for the sake of it. We know that 12% over two years is still too high — especially for working-class families living paycheck-to-paycheck who depend on rent control to keep their families housed in an increasingly unaffordable city. That is higher than the amount wages have gone up for tenants to be able to afford these increases. It’s also higher than market rents are going up in DC and higher than what other nearby jurisdictions have done. Combined with the 6.2% rent increase last year, this is an 18.2% rent hike over 3 years — making it the highest consecutive increase in DC for rent control housing in three decades. The amendment I moved last week with Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Zachary Parker would have limited increases to 10% over two years instead of 12%. This would have reflected the increased maintenance costs landlords have while centering the needs of families struggling to make it in DC. I wish there had been more Council support for this provision, but the rest of the protections we secured through our amendment will go a long way in preventing displacement.
Council Updates: Infertility Treatment, Buses, and Wages
It was a busy week at the Council. Beyond rent control, we took action on several other issues.
- On Tuesday, we passed great legislation from Councilmember Christina Henderson that will require all health insurers, including Medicaid and DC Healthcare Alliance, to cover infertility diagnosis and treatment for those attempting to conceive. About 11% of women of reproductive age experience infertility, but insurance companies are less likely to cover treatment for infertility than for other conditions that are just as common. The bill is already partially funded in the DC budget. It will apply to Medicaid and Alliance recipients by January 2024 and to those with private insurance by January 2025.
- On Thursday, the Council held a hearing on a proposed bill that would make changes to the implementation of Initiative 82 and offer supports to restaurants, such as exempting service charges from sales taxes. During the hearing, I laid out some of my concerns with this legislation and listened to hours of compelling testimony on the different provisions. One key principle for me is that the people of DC overwhelmingly approved Initiative 82 to apply DC’s full minimum wage to tipped workers, so any implementation delay is unacceptable — even if Initiative 82 is implemented faster in latter years. You can weigh in on the bill by emailing the CBED Committee by June 15.
- On Thursday, we also had a roundtable on WMATA’s proposed Better Bus Network, which is the first MetroBus system redesign in half a century. WMATA hopes to implement the Better Bus Network if it receives additional funding. While I am excited about the possibility of more frequent and more reliable bus service, I have concerns about some Ward 4 areas being underserved. During the hearing, I advocated for the restoration of the S1 and E6 buses, as well as improved service along Georgia Avenue. I’m encouraging all Ward 4 residents to review the proposal and share your thoughts with WMATA on what they should improve before the June 18 deadline.
- Finally, on Tuesday the Council unanimously passed my bill with Councilmember Henderson to symbolically designate 14th Street NW between Allison Street and Arkansas Avenue in honor of the Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Free Paint Recycling Drop-off and Giveaway Event
On Saturday, June 10 from 9am-1pm PaintCare will host a free Paint Recycling Drop-off and Giveaway Event for both households and businesses at Ida B Wells MS (405 Sheridan St NW). Registration is required. Paint in good condition will be made available to the public for free!
First Baptist Church Youth and Young Adult Cookout
On Saturday, June 10 from 10am-2pm First Baptist Church will host its Youth and Young Adult Cookout at 712 Randolph St NW. Join this family friendly event, which will include a barbecue, children’s games, music, face painting, a bounce house, cotton candy, and more!
Community Pop-Up at Raymond Rec Center
On Saturday, June 10 from 11am-2pm Raymond Rec Center (3725 10th Street NW) will host a community networking event with vendors coming together to share information about childcare, immunizations, and early learning.
Inaugural Uptown Pride Event in Ward 4
On Saturday, June 10 from 2pm-7pm Ward 4 will have its inaugural Uptown Pride event at 14th & Colorado NW by Moreland’s Tavern to celebrate Pride season in DC and our LGBTQ+ communities across Ward 4. Come out for a fun-filled day with kids activities, a beer garden, drag story time (with Tara Hoot at 2pm), family yoga (with Lighthouse Yoga at 3:30pm, free but registration is required), live music from 2 DJs, an LGBTQ+ vendor market, Captain Cookie, and community raffles. RSVP on Facebook, and see you there!
St. Paul’s Rock Creek Church Strawberry Festival
On Saturday, June 10 from 4pm-8pm St. Paul’s Rock Creek Church will host its 155th Annual Strawberry Festival with pony rides, a moonbounce, prizes, crafts, games, cemetery tours, and more! Join the fun at Rock Creek Church Rd & Webster NW. Check out the flyer for details!
Summer Jazz in the Parks at Walter Reed
On Saturday, June 10 from 5pm-8pm The Parks at Walter Reed will host its first Jazz in the Parks event for the summer on the Great Lawn featuring Corcoran Holt with the Farafina Kan Percussion Ensemble. Bring your own picnic, blanket, and refreshments — and enjoy popular local food vendors and giveaways as you take in the music. The event will start at 5pm with a children’s performer, and the headliners kick off at 6pm. Be sure to RSVP on Eventbrite.
Pride in the Park at Sherman Circle!
On Sunday, June 11 from 10am-12pm Petworth Peanuts and community groups will host Pride in the Park at Sherman Circle. Join this family-friendly event with music, giveaways, face painting, balloon artistry, and a mini-parade for kids! The best-decorated wagons, bikes, strollers, and scooters will win prizes. Ward 4’s celebrity Drag Queen Tara Hoot will emcee.
Gather Event at SOKIM Salon Studios
On Sunday, June 11 from 11am-3:30pm SOKIM Salon Studios (3901 Georgia Ave NW) will host their “Gather” Spring event of the year, featuring food, arts, culture, jewelry, home decor, artisan crafts, and more. This will be an indoor-outdoor event that will take place rain or shine.
Friends of Petworth Library Happy Hour
On Monday, June 12 from 6pm-8pm the Friends of Petworth Library and the Mount Pleasant Library Friends are teaming up for a Happy Hour at Midlands (3333 Georgia Ave NW). Come grab a drink and learn more about efforts to support two of our amazing local libraries.
Community Prayer Walk in Petworth
On Wednesday, June 14 at 3pm Ward 4 Faith Leaders will lead a community prayer walk in Petworth to bring neighbors together, show community solidarity, and pray to protect our young people from violence. Neighbors are asked to gather at 3pm at Peoples Congregational Church (4704 13th St NW) and join the prayer walk to Roosevelt, MacFarland, and Petworth Library.
Ward 4 CARE Day in Sixteenth Street Heights
On Thursday, June 15 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Day for Sixteenth Street Heights, starting from Hamilton Rec Center (1340 Hamilton St NW). Come join us for a resource fair with DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP to participate.
Name That Song Music Night at Petworth Rec
On Friday, June 16 from 5:30pm-7pm Petworth Recreation Center (801 Taylor Street NW) will host a “Guess That Song” Music Night in the multipurpose room with prizes for winners!
Community Shred Day at AKA Xi Omega
On Saturday, June 17 from 9am-12pm the Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will host a free community shredding event for neighbors to shred their important documents at the Xi Omega Center (4411 14th St NW). No limit on the amount of paper you can bring!
Discover Summer Kickoff at Shepherd Park Library
On Saturday, June 17 from 10am-4pm Shepherd Park Juanita E. Thornton Library will host a family-friendly Discover Summer Kickoff Celebration with a Lego free play session (10am-2pm), arts and crafts (10am-4pm), a The Floor Is Lava obstacle course (1:30pm-2:30pm), and other activities. Come celebrate the 2023 kickoff of Discover Summer programs and events!
Discover Summer Kickoff at Lamond Riggs Library
On Saturday, June 17 from 10:30am-12:30pm Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J. Huff Library will host a family-friendly Discover Summer Kickoff Celebration with patio chalk, games, Music and Movement (10:30am-11am for kids 0-5), a window decorating sun craft (11:30am), and other activities. In addition, teens who register at this event will receive a choice of Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley or Promise Boys by Nick Brooks while supplies last.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Bazaar at Zion Baptist Church
On Saturday, June 17 from 11am-3pm Zion Baptist Church (4850 Blagden Ave NW) and its Charles B. Walker Culture Club will host its 2023 Juneteenth Freedom Day Bazaar and Celebration with fresh produce, clothing, jewelry, handbags, gourmet olive oils, butters, soaps, art, glassware, cosmetics, music, and more. Come celebrate Juneteenth and our community!
Father’s Day Brunch of Love at Emery Heights
On Saturday, June 17 from 12pm-5pm Cure the Streets Uptown will host a free Fathers and Sons Sneaker Brunch at Emery Heights Community Center to celebrate the fathers in our community with live entertainment, speakers, creative painting, and a buffet. RSVP to attend!
Home Rule Music Festival at The Parks at Walter Reed
On Saturday, June 17 from 1pm-9pm Home Rule Music Festival returns to The Parks at Walter Reed to celebrate DC’s rich and vibrant music and culture! This is a free, family-friendly event with an outdoor record fair, food trucks, craft brews, local vendors, and an afternoon of live music from living legends and rising stars. Save your spot for Home Rule Music Festival!
RESCHEDULED: Ward 4 CARE Day in Petworth
On Thursday, June 22 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Day for Petworth, starting from Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW). Come find us for a resource fair with DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. This event was supposed to take place on June 8, but it was rescheduled due to the poor air quality alert. Please RSVP to take part.
Find Fresh Goods and Community at Ward 4 Farmers Markets
Ward 4 has several great Farmers Market options every weekend. Check them out:
- Uptown Farmers Market at 5501 Colorado Ave NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette ES on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Petworth Community Market at 9th & Upshur NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Takoma Park Farmers Market at 6931 Laurel Ave on Sundays from 10am-2pm
Special Election for 4C07 Commissioner in East Petworth
ANC 4C is conducting a special election to fill the open seat of 4C07 on Wednesday, June 14 from 3:30pm-7:30pm at Petworth Library at 4200 Kansas Ave NW. You must be a resident of Single Member District of 4C07 (pictured above) to vote in this election. Be sure to also verify that you are a registered voter ahead of time, and register to vote here if you are not. The two candidates are Will Barr and Eric Heller, who are both first-time candidates for ANC 4C. The results will be announced at the ANC 4C meeting later that same evening.
Ward 4 Commemorative Project Nominations Now OPEN
The Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street is planning a commemorative project — a statue, sculpture, or plaque installed somewhere in Ward 4 — to honor a local historical figure, event, or organization. The project’s nomination form is now open so you can submit your nominations for the project through June 28. Subjects can include a person who has been deceased for at least 10 years or an event that has occurred at least ten years ago.
Rep. Norton Town Hall with National Park Service
Do you have questions related to the National Park Service? Join Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and NPS on Wednesday, June 14 from 6pm-7:30pm for a virtual town hall on their summer programming, events, and management of DC land. Be sure to preregister and submit your questions via this link to participate in the Town Hall. All DC residents are welcome.
Free Curbside Composting Program Decisions
Did you sign up for DC’s free yearlong curbside composting pilot program? DPW shared that households will be notified via email by June 16 if they were selected to participate. Good luck!
Host a Roosevelt HS Exchange Student for a Week
This fall, Roosevelt High School will host exchange students from France and Poland, who need local host families to take them in during their brief stay. Host families provide dinner during the week and meals on weekends, take park in weekend activities, and answer questions about DC and the US. Learn more about this program and apply to host on this form.
Last chance to sign up for DPR Summer Camp
If you still hope to sign up your child for DPR Summer Camp, there are some limited slots available for Little Explorers (ages 3-5), Discovery Camp (ages 6-10), Sports Camps (ages 8-13), and Boost Camps (ages 11-13). This is the last chance to sign up before registration opens to non-DC residents on Monday, June 5, so move quickly!
Ward 4 Mutual Aid Cash Assistance Process
Ward 4 Mutual Aid recently updated their process for distributing cash assistance to a limited number of neighbors in need at the start of each month. Check out their website for the details.
CitiOpen to Get New Name and Higher Ranking
Last week it was announced that the historic CitiOpen Tennis Tournament in Ward 4 will be renamed the Mubadala Citi DC Open starting this year. The DC women’s event will also elevate from a WTA 250 level to a WTA 500 level, making the Mubadala Citi DC Open the only combined ATP-WTA 500 tournament in the world on the tour calendar. This year, the tournament is scheduled to take place on July 29 – August 6 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Ward 4. Stay tuned for more information on tickets and logistics.
New Whole Foods at The Parks at Walter Reed to Open June 28
Whole Foods just announced that its new location at The Parks at Walter Reed (7130 12th Street NW) will open on Wednesday, June 28 at 8am. The store will feature more than 800 local products, a full-service seafood and meat counter, and a bakery. The store’s hours on opening day will be 8am-10pm with complimentary coffee, breakfast bites, and a free tote bag and Secret Saver coupon for the first 300 customers. Regular store hours will be 7am-10pm.
Fort Totten Transfer Station Has Reopened
After a yearlong redesign and new construction, Fort Totten Transfer Station reopened to the public earlier this month. Located at 4900 John McCormack Road NE, the facility is now open on Wednesdays through Fridays from 10am-2pm and Saturdays from 7am-2pm. Fort Totten now handles residential drop-off of trash, recyclables, bulk items, yard waste, metal, tires, and appliances. Meanwhile, Benning Road Transfer Station closed temporarily for its own upgrades so the new drop-off site for hazardous waste, electronics recycling, and document shredding is RFK Stadium Lot 3 at 2400 East Capitol St NE. Collection events there will take place twice each month: once on a Saturday and once on a Thursday.
Local News Links
Washington Post: House GOP floats rewriting DC’s election laws in latest hearing
WMATA: Red Line MetroRail service improvements to begin on Monday
DCist: Metro’s New Fare Discount For Low-Income Riders Begins on June 20
DPR: Wilson Aquatic Center to Reopen Monday, Undergo HVAC Overhaul in Late 2023
Axios: Capital Jewish Museum opens, Devoted to the Story of Jewish Life in DC
Washington Post: DC Council caps rent hikes in rent-stabilized buildings amid inflation
DCist: ‘Everybody Needs To Be Brave’: For One DC Drag Queen, The Show Must Go On
Channel 4: Ida B Wells Middle School in Ward 4 Offers Cosmetology Class to Students
Next Stop… Riggs Park: Update on Fort Totten Park Soil Testing Issue
Petworth News: Grounded Learning Helps Neighbors Navigate DCPS Special Education
Petworth Main Street: Congrats to New Main Street Deputy Director Bryan Weaver
DCist: Ex-Moon Rabbit Workers Will Get Their Union After Wharf Hotel Agrees To Recognize Bargaining Unit
DPR: Hundreds of Jobs Available with the DC Department of Recreation
My School DC: Serve on the DC School Lottery Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
Barnard Elementary: Ms. Medley Pays Tribute to the Late Great Tina Turner
Ward 4 Dispatch: Expanding SNAP, Rent Control, and Fort Totten Transfer Station
This week I was honored to swear in the proud new Executive Board of the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association (LRCA) and celebrate the student awardee of the LRCA scholarship for college. LRCA has been at the forefront of serving and advocating for our community for decades. In a recent post for Next Stop… Riggs Park, Gavin Baker describes LRCA’s leading role in defeating the proposed North Central Freeway and Northeast Freeway that would have destroyed several predominantly Black neighborhoods, including Riggs Park, Lamond, and Takoma in Ward 4. LRCA also played a critical role in bringing a new full-service library to Lamond Riggs and serves our community constantly by distributing food to families in need, providing scholarships for graduating seniors, and hosting positive programs for our youth.
Community organizations like LRCA are the beating heart of Ward 4 because they constantly help bring neighbors closer together and meet unmet community needs. Whether it’s a civic association, neighborhood group, Friends group, local school advisory team, parent organization, Main Street Association, community advisory committee, task force, or planning committee, thank you to every Ward 4 resident who dedicates time supporting our community!
Happy Pride Weekend, Ward 4!
Yours in Community,