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Ward 4 Weekly: Safety First. Period. – April 7, 2016

From the Office of Councilmember Brandon T. Todd
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April 7, 2016

Dear Neighbor,

The Private Security Camera Incentive Program, wherein residents can apply for rebates to purchase security cameras for their homes and businesses, recently posted its regulations. In those regulations, specific Police Service Areas (PSAs) throughout the District were funded to give those residents the chance to utilize the program. In their first release of program regulations, in Ward 4, The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants funded PSAs 402 and 403.

While I fully understand the importance of funding those PSAs, I believed that there are other PSAs within Ward 4 that could greatly benefit from the expansion of this program as well. That is why I pushed, fought, and advocated for the expansion of this program to include PSAs 404, 406, and 407 in Ward 4. On March 8th, I submitted public comments in the form of a letter, which I have posted in its original form below, to the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants requesting the funding of these PSAs. No price can be put on the safety and ease of mind of our community and our neighbors.

Today, I am excited to announce that the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants will be expanding the coverage of the Security Camera Rebate Program to include PSAs 404, 406, and 407.

To read more about the program, please visit THIS page. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

I am committed to improving the state of public safety in the Ward to ensure that every resident feels safe in the neighborhood they live in. There is no alternative.

Sincerely,

fc66a402-3b33-47de-a8fd-1a9e9f1bcbac.gif
Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4
#Ward4Proud

Councilmember Todd’s Letter to the
Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants

March 8, 2016

Mr. Christopher Dyer
Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants
441 4th St. NW
Suite 727N
Washington, DC 20001

Re: Comments on the Proposed Regulations for the Private Security Camera Incentive Program

Mr. Dyer:

Through this letter, I am submitting comments on the proposed regulations for the Private Security Camera Incentive Program, published in the D.C. Register on February 12, 2016. Specifically, I am providing comments on section 4002.1, where the regulations outline the priority-eligible locations that would receive access to the program first. Under section 4002.1(d), the regulations propose to prioritize several PSAs in the Fourth District, including PSAs 402 and 403, which are located in Ward 4. While I fully understand the importance of funding those PSAs that have experienced a significant increase in public safety concerns, I believe that there are other PSAs that could greatly benefit from the expansion of this program. For example, it is my understanding that PSA 404 has experienced some of the highest number of incidents in Ward 4. For those residents living in PSA 404, an opportunity to purchase a camera through the District’s rebate program will not only allow them to combat recent public safety issues, it will also help expand the coverage area for the Metropolitan Police Department. Additionally PSAs 406 and 407 have repeatedly seen public safety incidents related to property, including robberies. The residents living in these PSAs could potentially see resolution to many of those incidents if they are given an opportunity to participate in the private security incentive program.

The recently passed legislation which created this incentive program is a significant step towards keeping the residents of the District safe; however, I respectfully ask that your office amend section 4002.1(d) to include PSAs 404, 406, and 407. This will ensure that the program provides sufficient coverage to all of the areas of need.

Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact me or my Legislative Director, Michele Blackwell at mblackwell if you have any questions.

Best regards,

fc66a402-3b33-47de-a8fd-1a9e9f1bcbac.gif
Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember for Ward 4

Legislative Update

DC Council Returns from Spring Recess

After spending a week on recess, the Council met on Tuesday, April 5th, for the 23rd Legislative Meeting. During that meeting, Councilmember Todd introduced two bills. First, Councilmember Todd introduced the “Urban Wood Utilization Feasibility Study Act of 2016.” Recognizing the importance of reusing District-owned trees that are cut down or removed, Councilmember Todd introduced a bill requiring the District Department of Transportation to study ways that the District can best reuse these materials. This includes evaluating the possibility of establishing a District-owned sawmill that could process the city’s trees for reuse into wood materials such as furniture. Second, Councilmember Todd introduced the “Upper Northwest Recreation Center Feasibility Study Act of 2016.” As more residents move into Ward 4; and as the District prepares for the development of Walter Reed, Councilmember Todd believes that there may be a future need for a recreation center to serve those residents. Under the “Upper Northwest Recreation Center Feasibility Study Act of 2016,” the Department of Parks and Recreation would be required to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of placing a recreation center in an area north of the future Walter Reed site. In addition to authoring two bills, Councilmember Todd co-sponsored 6 bills during yesterday’s Legislative Meeting, including the “Requirement to Report Missing Children Amendment Act of 2016,” which would expand requirements for reporting a missing child and the “Sporting Events Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Restriction Amendment Act of 2016,” which would limit the use of smokeless tobacco at sporting events in the District. For more information about Tuesday’s Legislative Meeting, please view our press release mblackwell.

Budget Hearings Start at the Council

On Wednesday, April 6th, the Council began its review of Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2017 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan. Budget hearings, which will last until April 26th, allow members of the Council to review and evaluate the Mayor’s fiscal plan for each District agency and initiative. These budget hearings cover numerous issues that can range from funding for school modernizations to budgets for street paving projects. As a member of the Committee on Education, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, and the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, Councilmember Todd will be speaking directly with agency Directors and representatives about the financial health of each agency and how the District is investing in projects that are important to Ward 4 residents. In addition to speaking with agencies that fall under the purview of his committees, Councilmember Todd will be evaluating the budgets of agencies that closely affect the lives of Ward 4 residents. If you have any questions regarding the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget hearing schedule, please contact Councilmember Todd’s Legislative Director, Michele Blackwell at mblackwell.

The Week In Review
Councilmember Todd Commemorates the Official Re-Opening of the
Juanita Thornton/Shepherd Park Library

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This past weekend, Councilmember Todd commemorated the re-opening of the Juanita Thornton/ Shepherd Park Library. It was a historic day — here is a sample of the Councilmember’s remarks from the event.

"In 1985, an apartment building in Shepherd Park was razed, with a Wendy’s set to be constructed in its place. A certain Juanita E. Thornton didn’t like that. Ms. Thornton, a senior at the time and a retired D.C. Public School System Teacher, met with the Director of the Department of D.C. Public Libraries, Hardy Franklin, to voice her displeasure with the new plan. Her opinion to have the plot of land turned into a library rather than a fast-food chain became a rallying cry within the community; “Books, no burger” they protested! Eventually the community, led by Ms. Thornton, prevailed – a library was built, and, with the help of former Ward 4 Councilmember Dr. Charlene Drew-Jarvis, it opened for business the summer of 1990.

This structure remains a living testament to her efforts in making this outstanding library a reality. When you believe in a cause, and you dedicate your life’s work to seeing it through, the ripples of your efforts will carry on long after you pass on. Life is cyclical that way.

As a member of the Committee on Education, I strive each day to be a champion for our students, to ensure they receive the world-class level of instruction, resources, and facilities that they deserve here in Ward 4. I like to believe that, through my efforts, I can continue Ms. Thornton’s mission today. I continue Ms. Thornton’s mission when I visit Whittier Education Campus to celebrate high test scores. I continue Ms. Thornton’s mission when I fight down at City Council to ensure that every Ward 4 school is on track for a full modernization. I continue Ms. Thornton’s mission when I push for our libraries to set the standard District-wide; full of books, good people, and advanced technology and resources, and that includes this amazing library, where nearly 1.1 Million dollars were spent to make it as perfect as possible!

Thank you again for the opportunity to join you today for this wonderful occasion. Please always remember; the best leaders in our world are those who continue to learn, even after they graduate. Knowledge is truly power.

Every time we build or reopen a library, we are continuing that endeavor.

Thank you again, and god bless."

Councilmember Todd Conducts Multiple Walk-Thru’s in Ward 4

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Last week, Councilmember Todd conducted walk-thru’s of multiple areas in need of additional attention. First, the Councilmember, with members of the District Department of Transportation ("DDOT") and the Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") walked 14th and 15th street and Emerson, Allison, and Piney Branch Road to address infrastructure and public safety concerns. Next, Councilmember Todd led a walk-thru of Shepherd Field with the Shepherd Park Citizens Association, the Department of General Services ("DGS") and the Department of Parks and Recreation ("DPR"). This walk-thru examined various areas in need of improvement and highlighted specific key action items, including new regulations of the soccer field and a strategic plan to reverse the erosion on the hill at the park. Finally, Councilmember Todd also led a walk-thru along the 600 block of Madison St., NE., in response to requests from several constituents. The walk-thru was productive and highlighted several areas in need of repair that the Councilmember, in tandem with the necessary agencies, is now working to fix.

These walk-thru’s are integral ways that the Councilmember can keep track of specific items of concern that need to be addressed within the Ward. If you’d like to schedule a walk-thru with the Councilmember for your block/alley/or park, please contact our Deputy Chief of Staff, Dolly Turner, at dturner or (202) 724-8052.

Councilmember Todd meets with Great Streets, Mayor’s Office, DMPED and more to Discuss the Revitalization of Kennedy Street.

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The revitalization of Kennedy Street has always been a hot-button issue in Ward 4. For years, the promise of reviving the corridor with new businesses and infrastructure has lingered with little to no course of action. When Councilmember Todd took office last year, he did so committed to steering policies and efforts toward the revitalization of the Kennedy Street location. That’s why one of his first legislative introductions was the "Kennedy Street, N.W., Economic Development and Small Business Revitalization Advisory Committee Establishment Act of 2015" (learn more HERE) to establish the Kennedy Street, Economic Development and Small Business Revitalization Advisory Committee.

But Councilmember Todd knows the work is far from over. That’s why, last week, he met with members from Great Streets, the Executive Office of the Mayor ("EOM"), the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development ("DMPED"), The D.C. Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs ("MOAPIA"), and the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services ("MOCRS"), to discuss the improvements still to come.

The District Department of Transportation ("DDOT) is re-bidding within the next 30-45 days on a contract to revitalize Kennedy Street, and is hoping to finalize a contract before the start of the summer. The planned improvements include; ramps for persons with disabilities, sidewalk widening, traffic calming, raised crosswalks, and overall beautification efforts.

Councilmember Todd refuses to back down on this issue; we will see the revitalization of Kennedy Street through ’till the end. In the meantime, our office will continue to keep you informed as to the state of these efforts. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for an update at (202) 724-8052.

Events & Announcements
"OurRFP" Public Workshop Regarding the Redevelopment of 1125 Spring Road NW, on Saturday, April 9

On Saturday, April 9th, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, at Raymond Recreation Center (3725 10th Street, NW) the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development invites you to an OurRFP Public Workshop for an interactive discussion of community goals in redeveloping the site at 1125 Spring Road, NW. The District will present an analysis of the site, and then attendees will be invited to share feedback and thoughts on the next step of development. Community feedback will be combined with citywide objectives to create "OurRFP."

For more information, please contact Tsega Bekele at tsega.bekele or (202)727-6365.

Zion Baptist Church Health Fair on
Saturday, April 9, from 9:00am to 3:00pm

Please join the Zion Health Ministry on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at the Zion Baptist Church (4850 Blagden Avenue, NW), in the A.J. Edward’s Fellowship Hall, from 9:00am to 3:00pm. At the fair, you will have the opportunityt to meet with various pediatricians, attorneys, cardiologists, and doctors of all kinds including Ms. Carrye Browne, FitDC Coach. Light refreshments will also be provided.

For more information, please contact Leslie Cooper at drlesliecooper

Author Talk & Book Signing
with Dolen Perkins-Valdez at the
Takoma Park Neighborhood Library
on Sunday, April 10

On Sunday, April 10, at 2:00pm, visit the Takoma Park Neighborhood Library (416 Cedar Street, NW) to join award-winning author, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, for an author talk and book signing about her most recent novel, Balm, set in a post-Civil War Chicago. Balm "is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history" (HarperCollins). Ms. Perkins-Valdez will be in conversation with writer/poet, Ms. Bernadine (Dine) Watson.

For more information, please call the Takoma Park Neighborhood Library at (202) 576-7764 or visit their website HERE.

Community Bike Ride with the
Metropolitan Police Department’s First, Fourth, and Fifth Districts on Sunday, April 10

On Sunday, April 10, at 10:00am, head over to the Takoma Metro Station Center (327 Cedar Street, NW) to join officers from the Metropolitan Police Department’s First, Fourth, and Fifth Districts on a community bike ride through Wards 2, 4, 5, and 6. In addition, there will be a bicycle rodeo for children at 1st and L Street, NE, with bike games, a skills course, and an obstacle course.

The ride will depart from Takoma Metro Station with stops to pick up additional riders at the Brookland/CUA Metro Station and at the NoMA Metro Station. The ride will end at the U.S. Capitol after a ride around the mall. Remember to bring a helmet!

For more information, please contact Derek Staten at Derek.Staten

Takoma Art Hop Arts Fest is this Weekend: April 9-10

This weekend, April 9-10, join area businesses and visit Takoma, MD-D.C. to explore the work of over 100 artists in the shops, restaurants, and galleries of Takoma. Enjoy FREE performances and programs all weekend. All performances take place at the Takoma Park Gazebo, 7035 Carroll Ave, unless otherwise noted. For artist listing, map and more, please visit: http://www.mainstreettakoma.org/featured-events/art-hop-takoma/

You won’t want to miss this celebration of arts and culture in our community!

Ward 4 Council Staff

Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember
(202) 724-8052
btodd

Sherryl H. Newman
Chief of Staff
(o) (202) 724-8052
(c) (202) 215-5455
snewman

Dolly Turner
Deputy Chief of Staff/Scheduler
(o) (202) 654-6406
(c) (202) 304-8123
dturner

Jordan Bailey
Constituent Services Coordinator
(o)(202) 654-6421
(c)(202) 412-7310
jbailey

Michele Blackwell
Legislative Director
(o) (202) 724-7774
mblackwell

Jordan Rummel
Communications Specialist
(o) (202) 724-8191
(c) (202) 294-2506
jrummel

#Ward4Proud
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