Our first legislative session of the fall is next week, and I'm looking forward to finishing out the year on a positive note. Just before the summer recess, I introduced a bill to expand our library hours. Next week, I intend to introduce a bill that would require each public school to have a full time librarian, art teacher and music teacher. It is hard for me to believe that we continue to invest nearly $2 billion a year into our public schools (yes, that's "billion"), with the highest per-pupil funding formula in the nation, and yet have the worst educational outcomes in the nation. This suggests to me that our money is not being spent in the right places.
I am also introducing a bill to limit the way the Council is able to intervene in the contracting process. Too often we have seen allegations of ethical violations by members of the Council who are seen as advocating for or against a particular vendor that may have personal or campaign involvement with the member. Some of these contracts are for large amounts of money. I believe contracting should happen through a merit-based selection process that is insulated from political pressure.
On a related note, campaign finance reform is another area of focus for me this year. There will be a lot of discussion about new laws and regulations, even as the election cycle is in full swing, in light of the Mayor's legislative proposal last month. Keep in mind that the legal troubles several members of the government have been facing are not because the laws need changing, but rather because the laws that are already on the books have been allegedly violated. For ethics and campaign finance rules, I have consistently supported enhanced disclosure requirements, more rigorous enforcement when violations are discovered, and more meaningful penalties assessed on violators. Current practice is to simply assess a penalty a year after an election is already won, for example - politicians can view a penalty as simply a cost of doing business, and it is invariably paid with campaign funds rather than out of an elected official's own pocket.
Last on the legislative front, I intend to introduce a resolution again relating to the future possibility of a commuter tax. Many Virginia and Maryland residents take advantage of the infrastructure and business opportunities offered within the District every day, and yet don't contribute to its upkeep through their income tax dollars. I have had productive discussions with Congressman Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Committee with oversight over the District, and believe we may have Republican support for this proposal along with concepts such as budget autonomy.
I am also excited to monitor the progress of the newly operational Tax Revision Commission. Chaired by former Mayor Anthony Williams, the Commission will take a hard look at a number of tax proposals and hopefully come up with a rational set of integrated proposals that balance the need to fund our operations in the short term with longer term goals of fostering business development and retention of District residents and families that too often choose to move to Maryland or Virginia (partly so they can avoid our high taxes! A commuter tax can help with this). I addressed the Commission earlier this week and made a number of suggestions for consideration, including the following: Repealing the tax on interest earned on out-of-state municipal bonds; lowering the sales tax rate to its prior level of 5.75%; lowering the top income tax rate back to 8.5%; lowering the income tax rate on lower income brackets - specifically, under $40,000 and between $40,000 and $80,000; reducing the corporate income tax rate to 6%; repealing the unincorporated business franchise tax; and repealing the estate tax.
Although the Council doesn't formally meet between July 15 and September 15, a Ward Councilmember's work is never done. My staff and I were busy all summer long addressing constituent issues around the Ward, such as parking, sidewalk, traffic, and city service issues. I was also pleased to attend a number of community events, such as the groundbreaking for the former Hurt Home - this is a public-private partnership which features a new residential development while also offering an affordable housing component for visually impaired District residents.
I look forward to the upcoming Council session and working on the challenges ahead.
Evans Breaks Ground on
Ward 2 Affordable Housing
Councilmember Evans recently joined Mayor Vincent Gray and members of the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission and greater Georgetown community to break ground on The Montrose, a residential real estate project that includes affordable units, new amenities, and features adaptive reuse on the site of the former Hurt Home in Georgetown.
When completed, the 32,000 square-foot site will include 15 for-sale units and feature a 20 percent allotment of affordable units reserved for the visual impaired with a gross annual income up to 80 percent below the area median income (AMI).
"This redevelopment is long overdue and will be a great asset to the neighborhood and Ward, said Evans. "I remain committed to restoring vacant historic sites to productive uses and thank the Mayor for his commitment to this important project."
Built in 1897, it is believed that the Hurt Home was originally purposed as an assisted living facility for the blind. Located within the boundaries of the Georgetown Historic District., the District obtained the property in 1987 from the Henry and Annie Hurt Home for the Blind and the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia, both non-profit organizations. Most recently, the building housed the Devereux Children's Center, a residential and psychiatric program for foster children.
Ruth Werner is Evans' Georgetown liaison.
Renovations Complete at
Ross Elementary School
The dust has finally settled on extensive interior and exterior renovations at Ross Elementary School, located in Dupont Circle at 1730 R Street, NW.
Indoor renovations include new doorways, air conditioning units, and floors. Additionally, the school received new ceilings, plumbing fixtures, and water fountains and sinks. Workers also replaced data lines and outlets and light fixtures throughout the building. Renovations to the school's exterior include a new HVAC system and an upgraded conduit for cables.
"I structured the funding for the School Modernization Act several years ago, committing $100 million per year to ensure that students in every Ward in the city would have access to state of the art facilities," said Evans. "I am pleased to see Ross benefiting from this legislation and will continue to work to ensure all schools in Ward 2 and throughout the city are top notch."
Please click here for more information on Ross Elementary school.
Andrew Huff is Evans' Dupont Circle liaison.
Evans Honored for
Evans with Robert Bettmann (L) and others from
DC Advocates for the Arts. (Photo: Albert Ting)
Councilmember Evans was joined by members of the arts community for a ceremony honoring him for his years of dedication to the arts in the District. The event was organized by the DC Advocates for the Arts. As part of the 2013 budget, Evans was able to identify and secure an additional $6 million for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
"The District's arts organizations provide a critical educational service to our youth," said Evans. "There is also a critical economic development aspect to this investment by the city, as the arts industry supports over 11,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the District, and arts and culture organizations spend over $600 million annually throughout the region."
The Finance & Revenue's budget report recommended an additional $10 million in funding for the District's Commission on Arts & Humanities, which provides grants to numerous community organizations through a competitive application process. The report also identified eleven additional organizations for grants of $250,000 each: The Phillips Collection; the Washington Ballet; the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival; the Kennedy Center; the Washington National Opera; Washington Performing Arts; the Earth Conservation Corps; CityDance; the DC Jewish Community Center; the National Building Museum; and the Shakespeare Theatre.
"The nearly 2 million audience members that attend theatres in the District annually also generate over $100 million for the District's economy. This demonstrates that the arts are a critical part of our economic engine, with benefits flowing directly back to area businesses and to the many youth who are beneficiaries of this meaningful supplement to their education."
For additional information on the DC Advocates for the Arts, please click here.
Kevin Stogner is Evans' General Counsel.
OSSE to Host Parent &
Family Engagement Summit
On September 22, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) will host the DC Parent and Family Engagement Summit from 9:00am-2:00pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (between 7th and 9th Streets and N Street and Mt. Vernon Place, NW). The summit is aimed at assisting and engaging parents in supporting their children's learning, as well as their academic and social development.
Topics will include the District of Columbia's State Education Plan, extended learning opportunities for students, how to use the State Education Agency Report Card, and strategies and techniques to enhance learning at school and home.
"This event will offer a great opportunity for parents and guardians to learn about ways to support their children's education," Evans said. "I hope folks will take advantage of it."
Register here or call 202-741-1887 for registration information.
Lunch and a free backpack filled with school supplies will be provided to all registered participants.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' education liaison.
Evans Cuts Leash on
Renovated S Street Dog Park
Evans with (L-R) DPR Director Jesus Aguirre, Mayor Vincent Gray, ANC Commissioners Mike Silverstein and Bob Meehan, State Board of Education representative Mary Lord, and Scoop.
Last month, Councilmember Evans joined Mayor Vincent Gray, members of the Dupont Circle community, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B, and representatives from the Department of General Services (DGS) and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to celebrate the newly renovated S Street dog park at 17th Street, S Street, and New Hampshire Avenue, NW.
"This is one of the most used dog parks in the city and as a result required some serious work," said Evans. "I am pleased that DGS quickly made these improvements and thank Mike Silverstein from the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission and other residents for all of their work to keep the park in top shape."
Improvements at the park included turf repair, landscaping, and the addition of new trees.
Andrew Huff is Evans' Dupont Circle liaison.
Evans Seeks Input on
Visitor Parking Program
In an effort to gain community input on the idea of implementing a visitor parking program in Ward 2, Councilmember Evans has requested that each Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) weigh in on the program.
Several Wards in the city have a visitor parking program that gives each eligible household a parking pass for visitors. Currently, Ward 2 residents can get a two week parking pass for out of town visitors by bringing proper documentation to their local police district headquarters. DDOT is now considering instituting a new visitor parking program in Ward 2.
"I have sent a letter to each Ward 2 Advisory Neighborhood Commission asking that they hold a discussion on this matter at an upcoming meeting, vote on it, and let me know their thoughts by the end of October," Evans said. "I encourage all Ward 2 residents to email or call your ANC representative to let your feelings be known, as I will be listening closely to the ANCs on this matter."
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' DDOT liaison.
Evans Joins Residents for DCPS Beautification Day
DC Public Schools held their annual "Beautification Day" on August 25 and Councilmember Evans and his staff pitched in to help. The event, which has taken place every year since 2005, is an opportunity for the community to get together and spruce up participating schools before the first day of school. Evans stopped by Francis Stevens Education Campus in the West End where volunteers were busy planting and mulching outside and painting and cleaning up inside.
"It was great to see such a mix of folks participating - parents and kids, civic leaders, and community volunteers all working together," said Evans. "What a great welcome this is for our school children when they walk in the doors!"
Evans has worked hard over the course of his two decades on the Council to ensure that District schools are improved physically as well as academically. Several years ago he helped to identify a funding source to pay for major renovations of all of DC's aging public schools. That effort is well underway.
"Schools are one of my major concerns," Evans said. "More and more of our residents want to stay in the District and raise their children, and our kids are entitled to a top notch public education."
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' DCPS liaison.
Car Free Day
The 2012 Car Free Day will take place on Saturday, September 22. Car Free Day is an international event celebrated every September 22 in which people are encouraged to get around without cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, subway, or walk. Car Free Day is open to everyone in the Washington metropolitan area.
To participate in this year's event, all you need to do is fill out the pledge form, then go car free or rely less on your car by going car-lite on September 22. It's that simple! Once you pledge, you're automatically entered for a chance to win great prizes such as an Apple iPad! Already car free? You also get the same chance to win prizes when you fill out the pledge form.
"I hope everyone will participate in this year's event," said Evans. "The day will result in less traffic congestion, a greener environment, and reduced gasoline demand, all of which are good for our neighborhoods and city."
Car Free Day is organized in various cities throughout the world in different ways, but with the common goal of taking cars off the streets. Today, Car Free Day includes celebrations in 1,500 cities in 40 countries.
Help make Car Free Day a success and pledge today!
MPD Offers Tips on
Photo by Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recovers hundreds of stolen and abandoned bicycles every year. This property is inventoried by MPD's Evidence Control Division. Property
not claimed within 90 days of recovery is considered abandoned. Bicycle registration is one way to help protect yourself should your bike be stolen.
Is bicycle registration required in the District of Columbia?
As of June 1, 2008, bicycle registration is no longer required in
the District of Columbia. However, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and MPD strongly encourage residents
to register their bicycles with the National Bicycle Registry
What is the National Bicycle Registry (NBR)?
NBR is a service that allows you to register your bicycle by
serial number in a national database. If your bike is ever stolen,
it can be identified and you can prove ownership. Law enforcement anywhere can access this database. NBR also guarantees your registration. If your bike is stolen and not recovered by police within 6 months, NBR will register your
next bike for free and the stolen bike information will remain
in the database until the bike is recovered no matter how long it takes.
Where can I register my bicycle?
NBR registration kits can be purchased at area bicycle shops.
You can also register your bike online at www.nationalbikeregistry.com or by calling 1-800-848-BIKE.
Is there a cost to register my bicycle with NBR?
Three different registration options are available through NBR:
- $10 (single bicycle) - 10 years of coverage for an individual
- $25 (single bicycle) - 30 year registration, transferable when
you replace your bike
- $25 (family registration) - 10 year registration for up to 5 bicycles located at a single address
What should I do if my bike is stolen?
As always, you should immediately file a police report with
MPD. Alert them to the fact that your bicycle is registered in
the NBR database and provide them with the manufacture's
serial number. MPD will then be able to search for and attempt
to recover the stolen bicycle.
Can I register my bicycle with NBR after it has been
Yes, you can register your bicycle with NBR after it has been stolen. For a $1 fee, your stolen bicycle with remain in the NBR database for 6 months, allowing law enforcement personnel
access to the information in case it is recovered.
Windy Abdul-Rahim is Evans' MPD liaison.
Tenant Summit Slated
for September 22
The DC Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) will present its 5th Annual Tenant & Tenant Association Summit on Saturday, September 22 from 8:00am-5:00pm. Once again, the event will be held at the Kellogg Conference Center on the campus of Gallaudet University (800 Florida Avenue, NE). The summit serves as a forum to bring together tenants, tenant associations, housing attorneys and advocates, policy experts, community leaders, and District officials to discuss matters of concern to the District's tenant community.
The day will include several speakers, topical panel discussions, legal clinics and workshops, exhibits, prizes and giveaways, and lunch.
"This event will provide a great opportunity for discussion about tenant rights and the preservation of affordable housing in our neighborhoods," Evans said. "The Tenant Town Hall has helped to jump start several important initiatives including proactive housing inspections and the creation of the housing conditions docket in DC Superior Court."
Admission, lunch, and parking are all free. Gallaudet operates a free shuttle service with pick-up and drop-off at the NoMa-Gallaudet U. Metro Station (Red Line), located at 200 Florida Avenue, NE.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' Director of Constituent Services.
DC Green Roof Rebates Available
Coordinated by the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and funded by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), the DC Green Roof Rebate Program is currently offering a $5 per square foot rebate for green roof installation on any building in the District.
Over the last five years, the program has helped support the installation of over 220,000 square feet of green roofs. The roofs have many environmental, financial, and social benefits, including decreased stormwater runoff, a healthier environment, extended roof life, and lower electricity bills through decreased air conditioning usage in the summer. DDOE and AWS are continuing the program and welcome new applications.
Additional information on the rebate program is also available here.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' Director of Constituent Services.
Councilmember Evans is pleased to announce that he will be speaking to several civic organizations and attending several community events in September.
"I always look forward to the opportunity to hear directly from residents about what's working and what could be improved in the District," said Evans. "Attending these meetings and events on a regular basis allows me to do just that."
Evans will attend the following meetings and events in September:
September 18 - 10:00amO & P Streets Project Ribbon Cutting
32nd and P Streets, NWSeptember 20 - 7:45pm
Cambridge Tenants Association
1221 Massachusetts Avenue, NWSeptember 22 - 12:00pm17th Street Festival
17th Street, NW between P Street & Riggs PlaceSeptember 22 - 2:00pm
Gibson Plaza Annual Event
1331 7th Street, NWSeptember 23 - 4:00pm
Blagden Alley/Naylor Court Picnic
932 O Street, NW
17th Street Festival
Saturday, September 22
17th Street, NW between P Street & Riggs Place
Musical performances, artist vendors, pet zone, and kids zone in the heart of Dupont Circle!
More information is available here
Councilmember Jack Evans
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004