This morning, the D.C. Council took emergency action to put immediate measures into place to assist District residents, workers, and businesses with the coronavirus public health emergency. Decisions that we have taken and will be taking as a government to slow down the virus impact every facet of our lives. The legislation the Council passed today was intended to address some of these critical needs, such as providing economic assistance to workers and businesses, preventing evictions and utility cut-offs, and extending deadlines, as well as giving the Mayor the authority she needs to act swiftly and decisively to manage our government and our city in the best way possible.
This morning, Mayor Bowser announced more proactive measures for D.C. government to help our community contain the spread of COVID-19, the novel strain of coronavirus. These are hard decisions, and I agree with the mayor’s actions. They are necessary to keep our city healthy.
D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) will close its buildings to students through March 31, move up its spring break to next week, and engage in distance learning during the second closure week. D.C. government will continue essential services like trash pickup, though some agencies whose employees can work remotely will move to telework. Recreation centers and D.C. public libraries will also be closed starting Monday through March 31. You can keep up with the latest news at coronavirus.dc.gov.
Silverman Responds to Second Audit Confirming Line Hotel Failed to Meet $46M Tax Abatement Requirements
Earlier this week, the Bowser administration released a second audit of employment at the Line Hotel development project which found the level of D.C. resident hiring did not meet the specified requirements for the project to receive a $46 million tax abatement. The second audit was requested by the hotel’s owner, the Sydell Group, after they disputed data in an initial audit by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) released in April 2019.
The second audit reached the same conclusion as the first: Sydell fell short of the legislated requirements in two of seven categories. All seven categories needed to be met, as outlined in legislation passed into law by the D.C. Council creating the Line Hotel’s abatement.
In celebration of Black History Month, I invite you to join me and my staff for a free screening of HARRIET on Sunday, February 23, at 2:00pm at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St. NW)!
Special thanks to Pat Joseph and Charnisa Royster on my staff, along with D.C. Public Library, who have organized the screening of this film based on the inspirational life of Harriet Tubman. The movie follows Tubman’s escape from slavery and road to becoming one of our country’s most revered freedom fighters and icons of courage. If you’re still undecided, we’ll even have popcorn and light refreshments thanks to Naval Lodge No. 4! Additional details about Sunday's screening are here.
Silverman Good Government Bill Protects the District Against Ethics Concerns on D.C. Housing Finance Agency Board
A bill introduced today by D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) addresses concerns about conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest on a critical board that approves government funding tools for affordable housing developments, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) Board of Directors.
The bill, known as the “Housing Finance Agency Conflict of Interest Prevention Amendment Act of 2020” prohibits DCHFA board members from using agency programs during their terms of service in an effort to prevent actual and perceived business-related conflicts.
Happy New Year! Best wishes to you and your family for a joyous and healthy new year.
Almost all of us are back to our work and school schedules, and my staff and I are excited to hit the ground running this year to represent you on the critical issues that face our city. Ensuring that we are making the best investments of your tax dollars to create a pipeline of living wage jobs and affordable housing remains a major focus for me in 2020. Our investments in public education are absolutely critical to this. I have also challenged myself and my staff to think more boldly about how we can play a role in public safety and supporting efforts to interrupt and end gun violence. Additionally, this summer we will launch the paid family and medical leave program for District workers, and my committee will continue to work with the Department of Employment Services to do oversight of the program.
First things first, however: I am on the hunt for a few new colleagues in my office and will be hosting an office open house at the end of January. Keep reading for details!
Expulsion is an ethics insurance policy; a legislative body has it in place and hopes to never use it. Unfortunately, this week, the D.C. Council needed to exercise that authority. The Council’s Ad Hoc Committee investigating Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans unanimously voted to recommend expulsion to the Committee of the Whole, which means that 12 out of 13 councilmembers (all but Evans himself) are in agreement that Councilmember Evans is no longer fit to serve.
December 4, 2019
Paul J. Wiedefeld
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20001
As we enter the sixth week of Amalgamated Transit Unit 689’s strike at the Transdev-operatedCinder Bed Road Bus Garage, I am concerned that little is being done to help resolve the conditions that led to the strike.
A bill introduced today by D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) would reduce dangerous driving incidents in the District by targeting routinely reckless drivers and requiring them to take a restorative-justice-focused course before returning to the road.
The “Reckless Driver Accountability Act of 2019” allows the District to boot or impound any car that has either three tickets for speeding by more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, or five tickets for speeding or running a red light. The law would apply to all vehicles located in the District with qualifying offenses, even if they are registered outside of the city.
Like many of you, I went about the business of yesterday with one eye on the impeachment hearing that took place on Capitol Hill. The proceedings are of pivotal importance to the health of our democracy, and the issues that brought us to this point deserve our attention. Unfortunately, however, it is not the only inquiry into government ethics and the rule of law happening in DC. On the local level, the DC Council is engaged in an investigation about the actions of my colleague, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans.