I was pleased by the Mayor's recent decision to reappoint Dr. Natwar Gandhi to another term as the District's Chief Financial Officer. I have said many times that I would not trade the District's financial position with that of any other city, county or state in the country. The District had a $1.1 billion cumulative general fund balance in fiscal year 2011, an increase of $215 million over the previous year. This is $1.6 billion above the District's lowest fund balance level, which was -$518 million during the Control Board period in 1996. Our audit last year was the District's 15th consecutive clean audit, and our recently passed fiscal year 2013 budget is the District's 16th consecutive balanced budget.
Much of our success in maintaining fiscal discipline can be attributed to Dr. Gandhi. While the Mayor and members of the Council have at times criticized Dr. Gandhi's conservative revenue forecasts, I believe having a surplus at the end of the year is better than finding ourselves with a deficit and the potential reintroduction of a Control Board. Particularly during this time of instability in our government, it is critical to have an independent CFO with a demonstrated commitment to maintaining integrity in financial projections, regardless of political pressure.
I have seen firsthand how difficult it is to bring efficiency into a government bureaucracy. This makes it all the more impressive that our Office of Tax and Revenue has modernized its systems and can issue income tax refunds in three to five days for electronically filed returns, and just ten days even for paper filings.
Perhaps most important to me is the District's bond rating. The District must issue bonds to finance important infrastructure improvements, such as schools, libraries, and parks. I can't emphasize enough how adept Dr. Gandhi and his team are at communicating with the credit rating agencies at our annual meeting in New York. These rating agencies determine how expensive it will be for us to borrow money. Meetings such as these help us to secure our Income Tax bond rating of "AAA" by S&P and "Aa1/AA+" by Moody's and Fitch. Our general obligation bond ratings, which were considered "junk bonds" in the Control Board period, are now in the A+ and double-A range. The District has been recognized for our new highly-rated Income Tax Secured Revenue Bonds that help to ensure ongoing access to the financial markets with low interest rates. The initial issuance of these bonds gained recognition as one of the Bond Buyer newspaper's "Deals of the Year" in 2010.
The credit rating agencies now have a very positive view of the District's financial position and our bond issues are routinely oversubscribed and pay among the lowest interest rates among major cities. So I'm not just talking about a general sense I have as to Dr. Gandhi's value - Dr. Gandhi's work has led to tangible savings for the District. For example, the use of variable rate bonds has saved us more than $100 million. Finally, Dr. Ghandi has earned the respect of Capitol Hill. Members of Congress, which in many ways control our finances, have great respect for him.
I am chairing a hearing of the Finance & Revenue Committee on Dr. Gandhi's nomination on June 28 at 10:00am in room 500 of the Wilson building. I welcome any of you to testify or to submit written comments for the record.
Evans Honored as
Washington Blade Ally
Team Evans at the 2012 Capital Pride parade.
Councilmember Evans was recently honored by the Washington Blade as a "straight ally making a difference" in the District as part of the paper's annual Pride issue.
"I am honored to receive this recognition," said Evans. "We have come a long way, but there remains important work to be done and I look forward to working closely with the LGBT community and other allies moving forward."
The full text of the article, written by the Blade's Lou Chibbaro:
"Since his election in 1991 as a member of D.C. City Council from Ward 2, Democrat Jack Evans has been the lead sponsor or co-sponsor of virtually every LGBT-supportive bill or resolution that has come before the legislative body.
He announced his support for allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in the city years before Council voted 11-2 in 2009 to approve the city's same-sex marriage law. Evans was among the 11 Council members to vote for the law.
In his first year in office, Evans emerged as a leader in efforts to repeal the city's sodomy law, which classified gay sex as a crime, even if engaged in within the privacy of the home. Working with the late D.C. gay rights leader Frank Kameny, who in 1993 drafted a proposed bill to repeal the sodomy law, Evans and other Council members shepherded the bill through Council, which passed it later that year.
Evans also played a key role in working with local gay rights leaders in introducing or co-sponsoring a series of domestic partnership bills, which Council passed in the early to middle 2000s. LGBT advocates noted that the bills provided same-sex couples with all of the legal rights and benefits of marriage under D.C. law.
At the time, LGBT advocates determined it wasn't feasible to ask Council members to pass a same-sex marriage law because the Republican-controlled Congress was certain to overturn such a law or impose on the city an outright ban on gay marriage.
When Democrats gained control of Congress and Barack Obama took office as president in 2009, Evans co-sponsored the bill introduced by gay Council member David Catania (I-At-large) to legalize same-sex marriage in D.C.
Evans has also spoken out against anti-LGBT hate crimes, calling on D.C. police to aggressively investigate hate crimes cases and for the U.S. Attorney's office to make sure persons arrested for committing hate crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
To see a full list of the Blade's 2012 allies, please click here.
Screen on the Green Announces Summer Line-Up
Photo by glass window on Flickr.
Screen on the Green, a long time Washington, DC, tradition recently announced its 2012 summer line-up. Bring a blanket to the National Mall and watch a classic film on a gigantic movie screen. Films are shown on Monday nights beginning at dusk, around 9:00pm. The screen will be set up between 7th and 12th Streets, NW on the Mall.
This year's Screen on the Green series includes:
Monday, July 16 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Wednesday, July 25 - It Happened One Night
Monday, July 30 - From Here to Eternity
Monday, August 6 - Psycho
Please note that due to ongoing construction on the National Mall, the second film in this year's series, It Happened One Night, will be shown on Wednesday, July 25.
"Screen on the Green has become an institution in the District and a must attend summer event," Evans said. "Arrive early and get a good seat for one of these great films."
For additional information about Screen on the Green, please click here.
Continued Support for
Garrison Elementary School
Evans with Logan Circle Community Association
Board Member Jim Sullivan & Garrison PTA President Ann McLeod.
Last Saturday, Councilmember Evans joined the "Saturday Morning at Logan Circle" group and neighborhood children at Garrison Elementary School in Logan Circle for a free baseball clinic offered by Coach John McCarthy (Coach Mac) of the Home Run Baseball Camp. As part of the meeting, a group of concerned residents, including representatives from Garrison's PTA and the Logan Circle Community Association were able to get architects to work with residents on a concept for the long ignored playing fields at Garrison.
The design encompasses baseball and soccer fields, as well as a garden and playground space, among other elements. Although no design has been finalized, this process helped make clear what parents would like to see as part of the field renovation.
During the meeting, Evans was pleased to announce that he had secured a commitment from the District Department of Parks and Recreation to allow the decaying and unused pool area at the south end of the field to be included as part of the field renovation and that he had successfully secured $1 million to begin to put these plans into action. These funds will be used to remove the pool and adjacent structure and pay for at least part of the field renovations. Committee members will fundraise as well.
"This field is such an asset to Garrison and the entire neighborhood," said Evans. "It has gone unused and ignored for far too long and I am happy to be able to help with getting this done for residents and especially for all of the new families in the area."
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' liaison to DCPS.
U Street Streetscape
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) recently began construction as part of the U Street, NW Streetscape Project. The project area includes a 0.4 mile segment of Historic U Street, NW between 9th and 14th Streets with completion scheduled for spring 2013, weather permitting. The project will include:
- Repair & replacement of the roadway and alley entrances
- Replacement of deteriorated sidewalks
- Addition of brick gutters and granite curbs
- Special decorative sidewalks in front of the Lincoln Theatre
- Replacement of bus pads at WMATA bus stops
- Upgrade of storm drainage inlets
- Installation of new streetlights and traffic signal upgrades
- Installation of centralized parking meters and new traffic signs
"I am pleased to see that DDOT is working with area businesses and residents to minimize disruptions and coordinate the daily construction activities," said Evans. "While this project is great for the neighborhood, it will definitely require some patience during construction."
Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists are advised to use caution as they travel through or near the work zone and to plan ahead to minimize delays while traveling through the corridor.
For more information about the U Street, NW Streetscape Project and to sign up for future updates, please click here.
Specific questions regarding the project may be directed to Chinaka Young at 202-641-6739.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' DDOT liaison
Evans Unveils Downtown's
First Rain Garden
Evans with (L-R) DDOE Director Christope Tulou,
DC Water General Manager George Hawkins,
& Golden Triangle BID President Gregory Meyer.
Councilmember Evans this week joined the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID), the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), and DC Water to celebrate the completion of the first rain garden in the Golden Triangle neighborhood.
The rain garden, located at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue and M Street, NW was the result of a 2009 DDOE grant, which allocated funds to the BID from the EPA's Clean Water Act.
"This project transforms a concrete traffic island into beautiful green space that is specifically constructed to address the important issue of storm water runoff," said Evans. "It is wonderful to see the Golden Triangle BID - in the heart of Ward 2 - taking the lead to address the issue of storm water runoff with a unique solution like this rain garden."
A rain garden is essentially a landscaping tree box that is slightly deeper (24") with channels cut from nearby curbs/streets to direct water running down streets toward storm drains into the garden. It will never become standing water as an under drain sends water back to the storm drain should it become over saturated. The plants chosen for the rain garden are those that can withstand draught and flood conditions. The soil mixture includes 50% sand as opposed to 100% topsoil, to better filter the water.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' Director of Constituent Services.
Arts in Foggy Bottom
Offering Twilight Tour
Arts in Foggy Bottom will give the first twilight tour of its exhibit, "Sculpting Outside the Lines," followed by a gathering at the River Inn on Friday, July 6 at 8:00pm.
Laura Roulet, curator of the Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit and the city's 5 x 5 Exhibit, will lead this special evening tour of thirteen, diverse, outdoor works. Special features include the projection of Jefferson Pinder's videos Car Wash, Invisible Man and the premiere of Elevator Music. Other highlights best viewed after dark are Peter Lee's and Blake Turner's Craig's List Unrequited, an interactive projection and sound piece, live-streamed from the Internet, and Barbara Liotta's stunning tapestry Dark Sun. After the tour, drinks and conversation can be had at the River Inn.
"I hope everyone will take advantage of this unique opportunity to see world class art in Historic Foggy Bottom," said Evans. "The arts are integral to the fabric of our neighborhoods and city and its importance cannot be overstated."
Those interested in attending should meet at 8:00pm at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and I Street, NW. The tour is free and a cash bar will be available at the River Inn (924 25th St, NW).
The award winning Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit is in its third season in the Foggy Bottom Historic District with a new theme, a new curator and innovative artists. "Sculpting Outside the Lines" showcases 13 sculptures by 15 artists, most of who are nationally recognized.
For additional information on the tour and a map, please click here.
Sherri Kimbel is Evans' Foggy Bottom liaison.
Ross Elementary School Renovations Underway
Ross Elementary School, located in Dupont Circle at 1730 R Street, NW is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. For the safety of residents, the property is currently off limits to the public during construction. The school will reopen in late August prior to the beginning of the academic year school. Please click here for regular updates on the construction.
Ross Elementary administrators and staff are being housed temporarily at Francis-Stevens school (2525 N Street, NW) and can be reached by calling 673-7200. If you recently moved into the Ross boundary and need to register your child for the 2012-2013 school year, please call for an appointment.
Friends of Mitchell Park Kick-Off Films in the Field
As part of their continuing Films in the Field events, the Friends of Mitchell Park (FOMP) has announced a series of summer movies every third Thursday of the month in June, July, and August.
The first showing will be on Thursday, June 21 and will feature the film Wall-E. The July 19 and August 16 films will be announced at a later date. Films will begin around 8:00pm and are free of charge. Come early and bring your blanket and picnic basket!
Mitchell Park, Sheridan-Kalorama's largest green space, is tucked in between S Street and Bancroft Place, 23rd Street and Kalorama Square, NW. Through a public-private partnership between Friends of Mitchell Park and the District Department of Parks and Recreation, the park provides playground equipment, a multipurpose hard court, a large open field, picnic tables, and benches for relaxing. Plantings and trees are maintained by FOMP through the support of Sheridan-Kalorama residents and friends.
Sarina Loy is Evans' Sheridan-Kalorama liaison.
Local Restaurants Provide
Free Water Bottle Refills
More than 170 cafés and restaurants in the District are providing free water refills to individuals carrying reusable water bottles. TapIt is a District-wide network of businesses that promote tap water and offer alternatives to costly bottled water. During the hot summer months, hydration is important. With a reusable water bottle, you can get free, chilled water at any TapIt location.
Find TapIt locations in Ward 2 that are on your way to work, school, on your exercise route, and in your favorite areas of the District. Click here for a complete listing of locations.
If your local cafés and restaurants are not TapIt partners, encourage them to sign up - it's free. Let's clean up our neighborhoods, local waterways and keep plastic bottles out of landfills. Drink tap, protect the environment and save your money. Grab a reusable bottle and fill up for free.
Councilmember Evans, Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, announces a public roundtable to be held on Thursday, June 28 at 10:00 am in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW) on the following bill:
PR 19-777, the "Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia Natwar M. Gandhi Confirmation Resolution of 2012," which confirms the reappointment of Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi as the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia in accordance with section 424(b) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act.
The Committee invites the public to testify at the hearing. Those who wish to testify should contact Sarina Loy, Committee Assistant at (202) 724-8058 and provide your name, organizational affiliation (if any), and title with the organization by 10:00 am on Friday, June 22. Witnesses should bring 15 copies of their written testimony to the hearing. The Committee allows individuals 3 minutes to provide oral testimony in order to permit each witness an opportunity to be heard. Additional written statements are encouraged and will be made part of the official record. Written statements may be submitted by e-mail to Sarina Loy or mailed to: Council of the District of Columbia; 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; Suite 114; Washington, DC; 20004.
The Committee will also hold a hearing on Monday, June 25 on several matters. Additional information on this hearing can be found here.
Ruth Werner is Evans' Committee Director.
Councilmember Evans is pleased to announce that he will be speaking to several civic organizations and attending several community events in June and July.
"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 June and July:
June 21 - 6:00pm
Scheele's Block Party
29th Street, NW between Dumbarton and O Streets
June 26 - 7:00pm
Cloisters Annual Meeting
Georgetown Visitation School
1524 35th Street, NWJune 27 - 5:00pm (reception); 6:00pm (meeting)Ward 2 State of the Schools
2425 N Street, NWJuly 4 - 11:00amPalisades Parade
Whitehaven Parkway, NW
Cinema in the Circle
Thursday, June 21
Dupont Circle, NW
Bring a blanket and enjoy an outdoor screening of the 1985 classic,
"Back to the Future!"
More information is available here
Councilmember Jack Evans
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004