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Dear Neighbor,
 
Eight months ago, I was sworn in as your 4B02 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and I wanted to provide an update on all we’ve accomplished. I’ve been hard at work addressing neighborhood concerns, advocating for additional government funding for essential needs, and taking steps to ensure ethical government operations. Some of my efforts include:
Engaging neighbors is my top priority. I’ve held several neighborhood events, including a meet up on local budget advocacy, a meet up on engaging kids and families in local politics, and regular community cleanups with Takoma Education Campus families. I strive to keep neighbors informed through monthly office hours and monthly email newsletters that include lots of useful information.
 
Thanks for giving me the honor of representing you and our community. Let’s connect soon!
 
Sincerely,
Erin Palmer


Neighborhood Updates

*Proposal for Federal Shelter for Unaccompanied Minors in Takoma: Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau spoke out against a proposal to locate a permanent shelter for unaccompanied minors in Takoma, with Councilmember Nadeau discussing possible legislation to address the issue. More herehere, and here. The facility would be located in the EF International space at 6896 Laurel St, NW, within the jurisdiction of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B. Following information that Douglas Development (a frequent contributor to local political campaigns, including the Councilmember's) owns the property in question, Councilmember Todd sent a letter to the developer asking them to "reconsider and terminate" the agreement. This story is developing, and I will share more details as I have them. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

*4th/Cedar/Blair Intersection Improvements: Construction for this intersection improvement project is starting August 15th! We have held several community meetings to share the full set of plans and to discuss the scope of work, timeline, and transportation management plan. More information is available here, here, and here. An abbreviated version of the plans are available here. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to take a look at the full set of plans.

*Maintenance, Safety, and Programming at Takoma Recreation Center: In response to several public safety incidents at or near the Takoma Recreation Center and other area recreation centers, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B sent the following letter of inquiry to the District's Department of General Services, Department of Recreation, and Metropolitan Police Department regarding violence interruption services, as well as youth-focused programming at and maintenance of recreation centers. In addition, we held a walk through with representatives from Mayor Muriel Bowser's office and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd's office. We received the following response to our letter and will consider possible additional action in September.

*Pedestrian Safety by Takoma Metro: The District's Department of Transportation has proposed safety improvements at the crosswalk by the Takoma Metro Station. Their proposal is available here. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B's resolution in support of some of the proposed changes is available here.

*Heavy Trucks on Residential Streets: Following repeated reports of heavy trucks along Aspen Street, NW (a residential street with limitations on heavy trucks), I led Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B in submitting a letter of inquiry requesting information regarding approved routes for heavy trucks, current statistics on enforcement of weight limitations, and details regarding additional enforcement mechanisms. Despite multiple attempts to communicate with the relevant agencies, we have not yet received a response to our letter, but we have received reports of additional ticketing of heavy trucks by the Metropolitan Police Department. I will continue to follow up and share information when it is available.

*Soccer Mini Pitch at Takoma Playground: The new soccer mini pitch has been installed at the Takoma Playground and is open for use. A windscreen will be installed on a portion of the fence, and the District's Department of Parks and Recreation and the US Soccer Foundation are working on signage noting the historical significance of the area.

*Aspen Street Infrastructure Improvements: The District's Department of Transportation has proposed infrastructure improvements (under design) on Aspen Street, NW by the Walter Reed Campus. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development supports improvements that would include a 10' pedestrian and bicycle trail, a tree and safety buffer, turn lanes at Georgia and Aspen, and additional parking. 
This proposal, which Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B unanimously voted to support, would require razing two sheds on the campus. You can read our resolution here. Because the entire Walter Reed campus is within a historic district, the issue of razing the sheds came before the Historic Preservation Review Board, which received and acknowledged our resolution and decided to refer the matter to the Mayor's Agent for additional review. I will provide additional details as they are available.


New & Notable
What's happening in local government?

Check out these DC Council legislative and other updates.
  • The US Attorney for the District of Columbia attacked and presented misleading information regarding proposed legislation that would allow (but not require) incarcerated individuals who committed their offenses before the age of 25 to petition for release after 15 years’ incarceration based on their rehabilitation. A great article by Mitch Ryals of the Washington City Paper here. Additional information here and here. I strongly support this legislation based on neuroscience regarding brain development and the effects of traumatic childhood experiences, as well as Supreme Court precedent. You can read a Supreme Court amicus brief I co-authored on this subject here.
  • First-time Council candidate and participant in DC's public financing program, Janeese Lewis George, stepped into the Ward 4 Council race to challenge Councilmember Brandon Todd. More here. Councilmember Todd has raised a large amount of money to-date, including from DC government employees who work for the government agencies he oversees. More here and here.
  • The Board of Ethics and Government Accountability entered into a settlement agreement with Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans for $20,000 for his use of government email to seek business for his consulting firm. The settlement was notably limited to the issue of use of government email, leaving the larger issues of Councilmember Evans' conflicts of interest and other possible ethics violations on the table. More here.
  • The Washington DC Chapter of the Sierra Club is calling on Councilmember Brandon Todd to support the Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act, which would require employers to offer equivalent incentives to employees who choose to drive and who choose alternative methods, such as riding Metro, biking, and walking. Sign the petition here. Check out Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B's unanimous resolution in support here.
  • Following reports of elevated lead levels in the poured-in-place surfaces at two DC Public School playgrounds, including Takoma Education Campus, the District's Department of General Services hired a consultant to conduct additional testing, engaged in some remediation efforts, and committed to test all school playgrounds for lead. DGS announced (at 9:50 pm on a Friday) that areas at three additional schools - Aiton Elementary School, Cardozo High School, and Thomson Elementary, including a school garden - would be closed due to high lead levels. See the press release here and the DGS solicited testing reports here. General information and background is available here. DGS has poorly communicated its testing protocol, threshold, and remediation efforts throughout this process, and we are still seeking answers, although we have received a firm statement that the threshold DGS considers safe is below 400 ppm.
  • Nearly 1/3 of DC Public School employees have expired background checks. More here. The report followed a letter signed by dozens of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and a community letter asking for information about sexual assaults and harassment in public schools in response to reports that an employee of a provider of after-school programming was arrested and charged for allegedly engaging in improper sexual contact with a 13-year-old student. Follow Commissioner Denise Krepp, @kdrkrepp, and Danica Petroshius, @DLPetroshius, on Twitter for more information.
  • In response to an incident involving the handcuffing of a minor by the Metro Transit Police Department at the Fort Totten Metro Station, ANC 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Nichole Johnson, ANC 4B01 Commissioner Evan Yeats, and myself sent a letter to Metro Transit Police requesting information regarding the incident and procedures related to Metro Transit Police interactions with minors. More here.
  • Advocates launched a new citywide tenant union to secure stronger housing rights for the city's low-income residents who may be at risk of displacement. More here.
Are you interested in or following pending legislation or a city-wide issue? Send me an email, and I will include updates in this newsletter.


SMD 4B02 Office Hours
*Next Office Hours: Thursday, August 15, 7-8 pm, 715 Van Buren St, NW

Let's chat about the neighborhood! Join me Thursday, August 15th from 7 - 8 pm at 715 Van Buren St, NW, for monthly office hours for Single Member District 4B02. Please RSVP here. If you need accommodations or would like to schedule another time to meet, please email me at 4B02@anc.dc.gov or call me at (202) 821-6333. My next office hours will take place on September 19th.


ANC 4B Regular Public Meeting
*Next Regular Public Meeting: September 23, 7 pm, 4th District Police Station

The Commission is currently on summer recess and will hold its next regular public meeting on Monday, September 23rd at 7 pm at the 4th District Police Station (6001 Georgia Ave, NW). The draft agenda will be available at least one week prior to the meeting, and we plan to have a new Commission website by that time!

As we work toward updating the Commission's current website, you can review past agendas and approved minutes on my website at www.erinforanc.com. You can see a recording of the last meeting in June courtesy of DC Compass here, and community member Julie Lawson's live tweets from the June meeting here.


Upcoming Community Events

There's lots going on in the neighborhood! Check out the following community events: Know of other neighborhood events? Send notable events my way for inclusion in upcoming email newsletters.
You can always contact me:
Phone: (202) 821-6333
Email: 4B02@anc.dc.gov
Facebook: @Erinfor4B02
Twitter: @Erinfor4B02
Website: www.erinforanc.com

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