Dear Friend,

Thank you for working with me to establish our community's priorities. We had a successful year in fighting for legislation and budget initiatives that ensure all residents can enjoy Prince George's County as a home and a haven, even during tough times. At the start of the year, my first legislative initiative was to pass a unity resolution (CR-002-2017). We passed a historical earned leave bill to keep our families and victims of domestic violence healthy and safe (CB-087-2017). I also passed legislation to revitalize our communities (CR-017-2017 and CR-022-2017) and to help finance and facilitate renovations for our historic and older buildings (CB-048-2017 and CB-074-2017). On the budget side, we continue to see positive economic indicators in terms of increased revenues and property values. Yet I passionately believe that we can only lift up each resident if every resident has a strong foundation to safely ride the rising tide.  

With you, my office has purposefully celebrated our diversity and continued to help neighbor to help neighbor. We cannot allow the national climate or local challenges to divide us. Instead, let's proudly highlight and nurture our local cultural and historical treasures. I am proud that the County Council passed the bill I proposed to establish a Language Access program. The Council will now require the processing and reporting of requests for language access services in the County (CB-062-2017). My office has also spearheaded cultural projects and branding initiatives in the Northern Gateway and the Gateway Arts District.
 
Below, this newsletter features an overview of other legislative and community initiatives. I want to hear from you so please email me at DLTaveras@co.pg.md.us or call my office at (301) 952-4436. You can also keep up with important updates on social media here. 

I want to wish you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving and joyful holiday season! Let's continue to move forward, together.   
 
Deni Taveras,
Prince George's County Council Member,
District 2
LET'S STAY CONNECTED:
Thriving Communities and Other Legislative Updates

This year, Council Member Deni Taveras proposed, and successfully passed with her County Council colleagues, a "Thriving Communities" legislative package. These bills address neighborhood concerns that community residents have identified as priority issues that have been left unaddressed for decades. For the first time ever, the 2017 overcrowding bill (CB-37-2017) will define and regulate housing overcrowding in the County. This bill will help prevent unsafe living arrangements, fraudulent leasing practices, and relieve our overstressed public infrastructure.
 
The Thriving Communities initiative includes legislation to protect tenants and to ensure property owners are good neighbors that will maintain adequate, safe, and attractive conditions in our communities (CB-49-2017, CB-85-2017, and CB-91-2017). For too long, older buildings were not required to modernize their property standards and multi-family housing code violations were left ignored by property owners. Council Member Taveras closed the loop holes that contributed to these poor property conditions by enabling DPIE to fine apartment buildings for code violations that are not corrected and to ensure older, non-conforming uses must also address code violations.

Taveras also worked on existing legislation regarding medical cannabis dispensaries, which provide a modernized approach to treating chronic pain and illness (CB-103-2017). The bill permits a broader pool of accessible locations in commercial areas near medical facilities. Based on community feedback, Council Member Taveras and her colleagues amended the bill to retain restrictions on siting these medical facilities away from schools, parks, and youth programs. Medical experts consider prescribed cannabis treatment to be an alternative to highly addictive prescription drugs, such as opiates. It is an important tool in the decriminalization of alternatives for vulnerable communities to access prescribed medicine. Council Member Deni Taveras supports further community outreach, education, and monitoring to ensure this pioneering effort in the County is safe for all.  
 
 
Greater Chillum Sustainable Communities Designation 

Council Member Taveras worked with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and other government agencies, residents, and her Council colleagues to introduce CR-22-2017, legislation calling for the designation of Greater Chillum as a Sustainable Community. The State of Maryland's Smart Growth Sub Cabinet's approved a Sustainable Community Designation of Greater Chillum. Greater Chillum includes the neighborhoods of Chillum, Avondale, Carole Highlands, and Lewisdale. This area is a critical anchor for the Northern Gateway of Prince George's County to Montgomery County and Washington D.C.
 
"Prince George's County is experiencing a lot of change and growth. We need a community plan in place that works towards revitalizing some of our transitioning Northern Gateway communities," said Council Member Taveras. "It is important for all Prince George's communities to grow and thrive. The Sustainable Community Designation is a game changer for District 2 and Greater Chillum as the area becomes more urbanized with a growing population. Now we will have access to the tools and opportunities that promote economic vitality; enhance public transportation; and preserve natural, historical, and cultural resources." 
  
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Sustainable Communities Program is designed to encourage interagency and cross-governmental collaboration by providing designated Sustainable Communities with the opportunity to access an interagency revitalization toolbox of financing programs and tax credit incentives.  Maryland has 105 approved Sustainable Communities with at least one in each of the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City.  To learn more about Sustainable Communities,  click here.
Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) Initiative

Council Member Deni Taveras proudly worked with community partners and immigrant advocates to launch the Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) initiative. ISLA was successfully funded in the FY18 County Budget under a public-private partnership funding allocation. The County Council allocated $50,000 to the Office of Community Relation (OCR) for translation equipment and services. ISLA funds will also be used to establish a deportation defense component for undocumented residents in detention. Prince George's County was awarded a $100,000 private matching grant from the Vera Institute of Justice for the ISLA program, which will be coordinated by the Prince George's County Human Relations Commission (HRC). Council Member Taveras also worked with advocates and municipal leaders on legislation to advocate for the protection of vulnerable county residents with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and dreamers ( CR-090-2017).
Civic Association Leaders Meeting 

Each year, Council Member Deni Taveras meets with all the civic association leaders. At the annual meeting, Taveras had the opportunity to discuss legislation initiatives, new projects, and hear top priority concerns from each civic association. If you are a member of a civic association, we want to hear from you. Please participate in our annual civic association survey here.  Council Member Deni Taveras regularly attends civic association meetings - we hope to see you there!

Save-the-Date: Residents and community leaders are invited to attend Council Member Deni Taveras' Northern Gateway meetings with county agencies. Sign-up here.   
Street Smart 

Hyattsville, MD - This summer, County Council Member Taveras met with residents to address their traffic and transportation concerns, especially to address the challenges that seniors face daily. Taveras joined community leaders, t he County's Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T), and the State Highway Association (SHA) to discuss the process and procedures of implementing safety standards for our neighborhoods and community. Ms. Lenora Stringfellow, Rollingcrest Development  Community President, stated, "The pedestrian walk-thru illustrated a fair and clear understanding about what can be done. I thank Councilwoman Taveras for being attentive to the needs of our community."

Speed Awareness Campaign 

The District 2 office partnered with DPWT, the County Police Department, and community members to host a Speed Awareness campaign on Quebec Street. The Police Department gave out warnings to speeders and explained the importance of following the speed limit. Speeding is a major contributor to the number and severity of accidents. We asked drivers to "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here." If you would like to host a speed awareness campaign in your neighborhood, please contact our office at (301) 952-4436 or email councildistrict2@co.pg.md.us. 
National Night Outs 2017 

The rain did not detour our neighbors from taking part in National Night Out 2017 across District 2. Council Member Taveras was excited to attend all six National Night Out in our district, celebrating a packed night with great conversations, music, and food. We thank law enforcement and residents for always coming out to make our community safer!
3rd Annual State of the District 

On September 12, Council Member Taveras hosted the 3rd Annual State of the District at Rollingcrest-Community Center in Hyattsville. Residents received updates on key budget items, legislative initiatives and the new development projects for District 2. In case you missed it, click here to view presentation.
The Latino Diaspora and Great Central American Migration 

On September 30, Councilmember Taveras and the University of Maryland partnered for the first Hispanic Heritage Conference in the region at the University of Maryland. The one-day conference featured speakers from non-profit organizations, advocates, scholars, elected officials, journalists, and students to discuss local and national issues regarding diversity, immigration services, and public policy.

Camilia Chavez, Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, spoke on the importance of communities working together to advocate for social justice issues. Part of building stronger communities is understanding each others' histories, a theme highlighted in keynote speaker Juan Gonzalez' "Harvest of Empire" featured documentary. The participants throughout the day enjoyed stimulating conversations with panelists, residents, and students. The event concluded with proclamations awarded to our local non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of all Prince Georgians. To learn more about this event and efforts to bridge our communities, click here.
Diwali Festival 

On Sunday, October 15, Council Member Taveras co-sponsored, along with Takoma/Langley Crosssroads Development Authority (CDA) and the City of Takoma Park, the 2nd Annual Bi-County Diwali Festival at the Takoma/Langley Crossroads. The free event allowed residents to share in the annual Hindu celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Children and families enjoyed traditional Indian dance, music, food and shopping. We look forward to seeing you next year at the Langley Park Plaza! 
Northwestern High School's New Turf 

On Friday, October 20, Council Member Taveras attended the ribbon cutting for Northwestern's new turf. The new turf will provide our youth a safer place to play and achieve their fullest potential. Thank you to Prince George's County Public Schools and the Washington Redskins for partnering with the County to better our community's space to play. Go Wildcats! 
Zoning Rewrite:
Highlight on Route 1 

On Monday, October 23, Council Member Taveras partnered with Vice-Chair Glaros to host a Zoning Rewrite meeting specifically for the communities along Route 1, the Baltimore Avenue corridor. Council Member Taveras has hosted four community meetings on the Zoning Rewrite. The goal of the rewrite is to streamline the ordinance, modernize zoning, and protect our residential and mixed-use neighborhoods. A big part of this process is hearing from you!
Please get involved. T he comprehensive review draft is out and comments need to be submitted to planning by December 15, 2017. You can provide feedback here: http://pgplanning.civicomment.org. If you would like to contact the project team directly, you can email ZoningPGC@ppd.mncppc.org or call (301) 780-8173. 
Save-the-Date
Senior Fall Fling 

Join Council Member Taveras for the 3rd Annual Senior Fling on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center (6120 Sargent Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782) from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Come and enjoy food, music and activities. RSVP to reserve your spot! Please call our office today to save your space at (301) 952-4436 or email us at councildistrict2@co.pg.md.us. 
The African Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century Economy 

Join Council Member Taveras for the African Diaspora forum on "Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century Economy." This will be a day of service and celebration. Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center (6120 Sargent Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782). If you would like to volunteer, please contact our office at (301) 952-4436 or email councildistrict2@co.pg.md.us. 
STAY CONNECTED: