This blog post is from the June 2020 newsletter created by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Erin Palmer, who serves ANC 4B02 in the central part of the Takoma neighborhood. If you live within the 4B02 boundary, you can contact Erin about community issues at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This has been a heavy month. Protests against police violence and murders have erupted in DC and across the nation, leading to calls to defund the police and rethink how we ensure the safety and security of our communities.
In response to these calls, the DC Council recently enacted the “Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2020,” which includes a suite of reform measures related to police hiring, practices, and discipline. And the Council will soon consider funding for local police as part of finalizing the DC budget.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B, following the lead of other Commissions, as well as the efforts of individuals, local advocacy groups, and national advocacy groups, will vote on a proposed Resolution during Monday’s meeting (details below) calling for a shift in funding from police to violence intervention and community services, as well as greater accountability.
I firmly believe that broader and deeper violence intervention efforts and investments in housing, education, healthcare, and other basic rights will best support the health, safety, and wellbeing of our communities.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B Virtual Meeting
Monday, June 22, 7:00 p.m. via Zoom
Join Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B for our May Regular Public Meeting on Tuesday, May 26th at 7:00 p.m. To participate in the virtual meeting, please use the following information:
- For video participation via Zoom on a computer or mobile device, click here. Meeting ID: 856-6848-7792. Password: 237111.
- For voice-only participation on a telephone, dial (301) 715-8592. Meeting ID: 856-6848-7792. Password: 237111.
- To watch (but not participate) via YouTube, click here.
This month’s agenda includes a presentation from the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia regarding COVID-19 related legal information, as well as consideration of a Resolution offered by myself and Commissioner Tiffani Nichole Johnson (4B06) calling for divestment of local police funding and reinvestment in community-based supports and services, as well as a Resolution offered by me calling for funding for public housing repairs in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
If you have questions about the agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at 4B02@anc.dc.gov.
Neighborhood Traffic Fatality
On June 8th, a community member was struck by a car and killed at the intersection of Piney Branch Road and Dahlia Street, NW. You can provide monetary support to the family here. And you can join over 2,500 neighbors in signing a petition calling for the implementation of traffic safety measures that the community has been asking for over several years here.
DC Primary Election Results & Challenges
The June 2nd primary election was a doozy! Janeese Lewis George handily won the Democratic nomination for the Ward 4 seat on the DC Council with 54.76 percent of the vote to sitting Councilmember Brandon Todd’s 43.07 percent. In precinct 63, which covers Single Member District 4B02 (Takoma), Lewis George won 60.24 percent of the vote to Councilmbmer Todd’s 37.98%. Todd Brogan, Ward 4 Committeeman to the DC Democratic State Committee, provided some interesting additional data and analysis here. You can read more about Janeese Lewis George from Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, here.
Although the District saw record turnout, the primary election was a mess. Despite efforts by the District’s Board of Elections to encourage more voters to request and mail in ballots in light of the public health emergency, technology, communications, and logistical challenges forced some residents who had requested mail-in ballots to vote in person, many waiting in lines for hours, while others were prevented from voting at all. Mayor Bowser’s ill-advised curfew added confusion and fear to the voting experience. While the Mayor provided an exception for voting, it was neither clearly nor broadly communicated, posing particular risk to communities of color, and worsened by the long lines.
Based on my conversations with residents about their voting experiences, I provided suggestions to members of the DC Council for improvements for future elections, and I testified at a June 19th DC Council oversight roundtable. The suggestions I provided built on a Community Letter from a group of DC residents, organizations, elected officials, candidates, and community leaders calling on the Mayor, the DC Council, and the Board of Elections to take action to ensure robust and resilient voting processes in the District. The signatories to this letter offered a number of suggestions that, had they been fully implemented, would have helped to reduce logistical hurdles, maximize participation, and ensure election security for the primary election.
Despite insisting that mailing ballots to registered voters (as opposed to mail-in ballot requests) was not possible for years, the Board of Elections has now committed to mailing ballots to registered voters for November. While this is a welcome development, leadership and oversight are necessary to ensure proper implementation, particularly given the myriad challenges during the primary election. I plan to be continually involved in sharing feedback and helping residents to ensure everyone is able to vote safely and securely.
DC Prepares for Phase 2 of Reopening
On June 19th, Mayor Bowser announced the District would begin Phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 22nd. Some of the changes include indoor dining at restaurants at 50% capacity, playgrounds opening, pools opening for swim lessons, and libraries and retail at 50% capacity. You can read more here.
Importantly, Phase 2 allows schools to reopen with daily health screenings, “appropriate physical distancing,” and masks for children recommended. As a parent of three young kids, I can’t wrap my head around how this will actually work while keeping kids and teachers safe. I will be looking for additional guidance and sharing that with neighbors as it is available.
Troublingly, there appears to be confusion around the community spread metric for reopening, and city officials have acknowledged a failure to meet goals around contact tracing. Trust in our city’s ability to adhere to established metrics for reopening is crucial.
My DC, my Future – Kids Advocacy Event
|I’ve joined forces with folks at the Fair Budget Coalition and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless to create a week-long advocacy event for kids and families related to the DC budget. It’s easy and fun!
During the week of June 22nd, kids and families can share their ideas about what we can do to support our community and make DC better by recording a video, drawing a picture, or writing a letter or email, and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtags #MyDCMyFuture and #JustRecoveryDC or directly with the DC Council.
You can find more details at the Facebook event, which also includes prompts and information to help kids come up with ideas (including healthcare, housing, education, community safety, food, and technology). We will be holding a raffle for all kids and families that participate, with a few gift cards from Mahogany Books as prizes.
SMD 4B02 Remote Office Hours
Let’s chat about the neighborhood by phone, email, or video! During this time, I am canceling my in-person office hours. Please feel free to email or call me to talk about neighborhood issues. We could even try a video chat. If you are welcoming to background kid noise and other home-life chaos, I can be reached at any time at 4B02@anc.dc.gov or (202) 821-6333. I will do my best to be available to neighbors.
You can always contact me:
Phone: (202) 821-6333
Website: www.erinforanc.comWant to change how you receive these emails?
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