Yesterday Mayor Bowser released her budget for fiscal year 2018. And so begins the Council’s eight week examination of the proposal, including a second round of agency hearings to learn how each plans to spend your taxpayer dollars on programs and services. Our office will be examining the budget closely, and, in a very cursory look, I’m pleased to see the Mayor fund several items I highlighted in my budget letter. Funding for items like affordable housing and housing preservation, childcare, and a new 14th Street express bus line. Please be in touch about your thoughts; I’ve heard from hundreds of residents already on a variety of issues—from school infrastructure to public safety to housing to parks and recreation—and some of the best advocacy has come from residents under the age of 21.
Statement from Councilmember Silverman on Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Final Audit Report
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman, chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, today released the following statement after the Office of the D.C. Auditor released its final audit of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP):
“The Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the District’s most beloved and well-known programs, and we want to maximize the opportunity it gives our young people. For many in the District, MBSYEP gave them their first job—and first encounter with the world of work. We want it to be a formative experience that imbues our young people with the life skills needed to be productive workers and lifelong learners – and helps put them on a career pathway.
Councilmember Silverman Introduces Legislation to Revitalize Vacant Properties and Boost Retirement Savings
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman today introduced two bills to help our local government function more effectively by getting District government out of the business of owning vacant properties and boosting D.C. government’s competitiveness in the hiring market.
The first bill, the Property Disposition Reform Amendment Act of 2017, aims to get vacant and blighted properties owned by District government into productive use by engaging licensed real estate brokers to sell these properties on the District’s behalf. The bill requires the Department of Housing and Community Development—which currently has up to 180 vacant and blighted properties in its portfolio—to follow a broker disposition process used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This would put properties on a faster track to getting back into use for affordable housing or other purposes, but does not change the current mission of selling these Property Acquisition and Disposition Division or “PADD” properties to non-profit organizations at a significantly discounted rate for the purpose of redeveloping them for low and moderate income residents.
To download Councilmember Silverman's letter to Mayor Bowser outlining her Fiscal Year 2018 budget priorities, click here.
March 10, 2017
Dear Mayor Bowser:
As you prepare your Fiscal Year 2018 budget submission, I want to share with you some of my biggest priorities for the year ahead. We are fortunate to have a healthy, growing economy and stable financial footing as a city, and I look forward to working together on a budget that makes key investments to ensure all District residents share in that prosperity. I am eager to collaborate with you in the year ahead in our shared goal to make the District an equitable, inclusive, and thriving place for all.
Certainly, a top priority for me is the work of my committee on labor and workforce development. My committee staff and I are trying to wrap our arms around the issues, policies, and people. I look forward to working with all the agency heads in this area of government, particularly Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney Snowden, Department of Employment Services Director Odie Donald, and DC Department of Human Resources Director Ventris Gibson. I do not have specific budget asks in these agencies right now, but I do have requests that I consider very related to workforce development in childcare, TANF, and adult learner transportation subsides.
I ask for your consideration and funding for the big ticket items listed below, which I believe will have a big impact on creating a stronger city and giving residents pathways to the middle class and beyond.
To download this list of emergency information, click here.
- Sign up for AlertDC to receive text messages about the latest information on weather.
- Sign up for MetroAlerts to receive transportation updates via email or text message.
- Bulk trash pickup and street sweeping is suspended for Tuesday. Daily trash and recycling pickup services will be determined on Tuesday morning.
- Metrorail will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Monday evening. The rail system will close at midnight.
- On Tuesday, the rail system is expected to open at 5 a.m. with service above and below ground. All stations will be open. Trains will operate on a Saturday schedule (about every 12 minutes on each line).
- On Tuesday, SafeTrack shuttle buses between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon will not operate.
- Metrobus will operate on a severe snow weather plan on Tuesday. Metrobus service on Monday evening may be delayed or detoured due to road/weather conditions.
- MetroAccess paratransit service is suspend as of 4 p.m. Monday. There will be no service on Tuesday.
It’s certainly March Madness (or global warming): After enjoying summer-like temperatures last week, the District is poised to experience the biggest snowstorm of the season. District government agencies have been preparing for the nor’easter over the weekend, and we will have people and equipment in place for whatever comes over the next 48 hours. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and please check on neighbors who might be less mobile, particularly our seniors or residents with a disability. You can find a list of warming centers here and track the District’s snowplows here.
With various threats to our local community on our minds—not only the storm, but various deleterious policies being implemented or proposed on the federal level such as immigration, health care and budget proposals—I wanted to share with you a moment from last week that gave me immense hope for our city.
After an engaging conversation with Glover Park neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3B last Thursday night, I was approached by a mom and her two children. I had noticed the three listening attentively in the second row of seats. I found out the reason they came that night is that Amar, a second grader at Stoddert Elementary, and her brother, Jakob, a fourth grader at Stoddert, were really upset by the national political dialogue and wanted to do something. Their mom suggested they get involved in their local community, and the three came to the ANC meeting to learn more about what they could do. Amar and Jakob said they were very interested in the issue of childcare, and also how to expand recreation opportunities, including summer camp slots. They said they would advocate for these items in the budget, and I told them to pick a date to visit me at the Wilson Building. It was the highlight of my week.
We are living in unusual times, both in national and local politics. I want to thank all of you who are taking action, calling, emailing, and rallying to support our values as a city and as a country. I especially want to thank those who took action by contacting members of Congress to protect our ability to make decisions about what is the best policy for the District of Columbia. Your efforts are making a difference! Keep it up, and keep your ideas coming!
On the local front: It is oversight and budget season at the Wilson Building! Our version of March Madness is the best opportunity for you to tell me and my colleagues your priorities for how your tax dollars should be spent. The schedule is here. I also encourage you to attend Mayor Bowser’s budget engagement forums in the next week, which are listed below.
Congress is voting TOMORROW evening on a bill to prevent D.C. from implementing Death With Dignity, legislation passed by an overwhelming majority of the D.C. Council last fall and signed into law by Mayor Bowser. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will hold a markup of the disapproval resolution Monday evening to repeal this District law—and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Women’s reproductive health rights, the District’s common-sense gun laws, and voter-passed marijuana initiatives have also been challenged.
As you may have read in my newsletter last week, this is the first of what looks to be many more attempts by this Congress to undermine the District’s authority and the rights of our residents.
It’s now more important than ever to rally! My colleagues and I are doing all we can to protect our city’s well-being, but we need your help!
Here are four immediate things you can do to tell Congress to do their job and leave D.C. alone:
Councilmember Silverman Introduces Childcare and Housing Legislation to Benefit D.C. Working Families
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman introduced two bills at today’s D.C. Council legislative session to help ease the burden on the District’s working families. The first bill would evaluate the need for more non-traditional child care providers and slots for parents who work in hourly and shift-based jobs. The second bill would help increase affordable housing options for lower income residents.
“Access to child care and affordable housing are two critical services we can provide to make our city a place of opportunity for everyone who wants to live here,” Silverman said.
In response to the District’s high demand and high cost of child care, Silverman introduced the Non-Traditional Child Care Needs Evaluation Act of 2017. The bill was co-introduced by At-Large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.
The days since Jan. 20 have been long and taxing on our city, on our country, and, indeed, on ourselves. But, in this challenging time, I have been uplifted by the activism and engagement of D.C. residents and others across the country and the world. Keep it up! The District of Columbia and our residents are particularly vulnerable, and we will need to work together as a community to protect the policies our city values.
Let’s pause for a moment on this. You may have read in the Washington Post that Republicans in Congress are working to repeal the Death with Dignity Act recently passed by the D.C. Council and signed by the mayor, to loosen our gun-control laws, and to restrict the use of local funds for reproductive health services in the District. And that’s just for starters. That’s why I joined with our Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Capitol Hill last week, along with Mayor Bowser, Chairman Mendelson, and other colleagues, to tell Congress to let locally elected officials do the job that our voters asked us to do and to leave us alone! Give us local control to set the policies that work best for our community, such as being a sanctuary city. Let me repeat: The District will remain a sanctuary city despite threats and bullying by Congress, and we will not support any legislation this new administration puts forth that forces residents to live in fear of their safety or well-being.
I am working with our mayor and her federal relations team, along with my colleagues, to craft effective strategies to deal with this Congress and this White House. But I want and need your help! First of all, keep up the activism and engagement. Second, many of you have expertise in the federal realm. Send me your ideas on how to protect the best interests of D.C.! The best way to do that is send me an email at email@example.com. I look forward to putting them into action!