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The holiday season is upon us, and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone well in the new year. I am thankful for our community every day.

I try to spend some time in December reflecting and setting my intentions for the upcoming year. Last week I participated in the People for Fairness Coalition's 7th Annual Homeless Memorial Vigil to remember the
81 individuals who have died homeless in DC over the last year. The speakers and candlelight procession were particularly moving, and I was able to stay the night outside at Freedom Plaza with many individuals who are experiencing homelessness and join them for their DC Council office visits the next day. There is no excuse for the deaths of 81 individuals without the dignity of a home, and I am re-dedicating myself to advocating for safe, stable, and secure housing for all District residents. 

Over the next several months I hope to  establis
h a Housing Affordability Committee to pursue this goal, including by (1) reviewing proposed developments within the Commission area to consider leverage points to maximize affordable housing; (2) reviewing proposed legislation and agency action related to homelessness and affordable housing, and advocating for mechanisms to increase and expand deeply affordable housing; and (3) hosting educational events and town halls within the Commission regarding topics related to affordable housing.

You can see what the Commission has already done to address housing needs in our
Annual Report. Let's build on the Commission's efforts to expand funding to end chronic homelessness; expand funding for urgent public housing repairs; retain and expand public housing stock; expand and improve rent control; and ensure oversight and accountability of agencies like the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that inspect residences and help ensure health and safety. Please send me an email at 4B02@anc.dc.gov if you are interested in participating on this Committee.
Reggie Black, People for Fairness Coalition, speaks to staff of the DC Council's Committee of the Whole to demand the city increase spending to address chronic homelessness, including through permanent supportive housing.


Neighborhood Updates

*Deadly Crash at Blair and Aspen: Last Tuesday, a car crash at Blair Rd and Aspen St, NW, resulted in one death and three injuries. More here. This was not the first crash at this intersection. In fact, there was a dangerous (although not deadly) crash less than a month earlier. This site is notorious for impaired visibility and speeding. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B is looking to host the District Department of Transportation at an upcoming meeting to answer questions about safety measures that can and will be implemented. If you are interested in requesting a Traffic Safety Assessment for any part of the neighborhood, please contact me at 4B02@anc.dc.gov.

*Takoma Library Renovation: The Takoma Library will re-open on December 30th following renovations that included replacing the floor on the upper level, HVAC replacement, refreshing and opening up space on the lower level, renovating staff  bathrooms, and adding new computers. Save the Date for a Friends of Takoma Library celebration on Saturday, January 4th from 1-3 pm.


*Takoma and Whittier Education Campuses - Opportunities for Support: Takoma is holding its next prospective family information sessions and tours on Saturday, January 11th at 10 am and Saturday, January 25th at 10 am. Whittier will be holding a regular open house on Wednesday, January 8th at 10 am, and the school will be welcoming prospective families for a playdate on Saturday, January 11th at 10 am. In addition, you can support both schools through their Amazon wishlists. Takoma's is available here, and Whittier's is available here.
The Takoma Education Campus Giving Tree was a huge success. Community members purchased more than 300 gifts for 33 families. The Takoma Education Campus PTO and the school community are really grateful for your support.
*Success for Solar in Historic Districts: In a notable development, the Historic Preservation Review Board has approved front-facing, visible solar panels in the Takoma Historic District. More from Rachel Kurzius, DCist, here. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B has continued to support solar applications within the Historic District and has pushed the Historic Preservation Review Board to consider a more flexible approach to front-facing, visible solar panels, which the Board recently adopted.

*Walter Reed Development Updates: If you haven't heard, Whole Foods is coming to Walter Reed. More here. People have lots of opinions on grocery stores, and you can hop onto any of the neighborhood listservs to see the discussion.

*Holiday Tree Collection: Holiday trees and greenery will be collected by the District Department of Public Works via appointment. Only residents in single family homes and apartment buildings with three or fewer units are eligible for this service. Residents must make the request by calling 311 between December 27 and January 10 to make their appointment. (This is not the same process as previous years.) Place trees and greenery (not in bags) in the front of your home.


New & Notable
What's happening in local government?

Check out these DC Council legislative and other updates.
  • In the ongoing ethics scandals involving Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, the DC Council recently voted unanimously to expel Councilmember Evans from the Council. In its report, the ad hoc committee noted a pattern and practice of misconduct and concluded expulsion was a proportionate sanction. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B noted this pattern and practice of misconduct and called for an investigation to determine a proportionate sanction back in March. More here. The Council will hold its final vote on expulsion on January 21st.
  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Renee Bowser jumps into the race for the Ward 4 Council seat. More from Rachel Kurzius, DCist, here, with some interesting quotes from the sitting Councilmember.
  • Something fishy is going on with the DC Housing Authority, which passed a resolution two weeks ago regarding the Authority's redevelopment plan, which scrapped 70 units of deeply affordable housing previously planned for the site and included $14 million for developers to allow the Authority to lease back its headquarters. More from Mitch Ryals, Washington City Paper, here. I don't know, y'all, this is the entity tasked with providing affordable housing to extremely low through moderate-income households. What are they doing?
  • Legislation to split up the District's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is supposedly moving forward next year. Incidents like the deadly fire at 708 Kennedy St, NW, demonstrate the urgent need for change and accountability within the agency. More from Cuneyt Dil, The DC Line, here and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B's Resolution in support here.
  • Local parents have advocated to ease administrative burdens associated with volunteering at DC public schools. More here and here.
  • DC Public Schools is proposing closing Washington Metropolitan, an alternative high school, based on supposed lack of academic progress and low enrollment. More from Martin Austermuhle, WAMU, here. It's pretty clear to me that closure is disruptive to students and that we should be investing in schools instead of closing them down. Hear the students' views against closure here and here, and sign the petition against closure here.
  • Excellent reporting from Joshua Kaplan, Washington City Paper, available here, about the lack of laws governing the use of seclusion and restraints in DC schools
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, January 16, 7-8 pm, 715 Van Buren St, NW

Let's chat about the neighborhood! Join me on Thursday, January 16th from 7 - 8 pm at 715 Van Buren St, NW, for monthly office hours for Single Member District 4B02. This would be a good opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the District's Comprehensive Plan before Advisory Neighborhood Commission feedback is due at the end of the month. More here.

You can 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.


Upcoming Community Events

There's lots going on in the neighborhood! Check out the following community events:
  • Saturday, January 4, 1-3 pm, Takoma Library Party at 416 Cedar St, NW.
  • Thursday, January 9, 6-8 pm, Ward 4 Education Alliance Meeting at Whittier Education Campus (6201 5th St, NW). 
  • Tuesday, January 14, 7- 9 pm, Brightwood Community Association Meeting at St. John United Baptist Church (6343 13th St, NW).
  • Tuesday, January 14, 6:30 pm, Shepherd Park Citizens Association Meeting at Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St, NW).
  • Tuesday, January 21, 7 - 8:30 pm, Ward 4 Democrats Meeting. *Check for details.*
  • Sunday, January 26, Shepherd Park Citizens Association Annual Community Potluck at Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St, NW).
  • Monday, January 27, 7 pm, ANC 4B Regular Public Meeting at MPD's 4th District Headquarters (6001 Georgia Ave, NW). 
  • Check the Police Service Area map and Fourth District meeting schedule for additional details about boundaries and upcoming meetings with the Metropolitan Police Department.
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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