Last week, you may have found the Fall 2018 Ward 4 Progress Report in your mailbox. Also available on my website, the report details the considerable progress that we have made together in Ward 4 and outlines our vision and shared goals to keep our community moving forward. As your Councilmember, I place a priority on being communicative and providing regular updates to residents, and I am delighted to share this report with neighbors.
With updates regarding this year’s budget, parks and recreation, education, housing, economic development, seniors, transportation, infrastructure, public safety, Walter Reed redevelopment, and legislative initiatives, the report offers a comprehensive overview of all that has been accomplished in Ward 4 in just the past 6 months. Ward 4 has been very busy!
I am extremely proud of the work that has been done to make Ward 4 a safer, more prosperous, and better place to live for our 84,000 residents. I hope that you will take the time to read the report and catch up on the new developments and forward movement throughout Ward 4’s 20 neighborhoods. As always, if you have questions about particular items or would like to advocate for addressing specific concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4
Legislative Meeting: On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Council met in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building for their monthly Legislative Meeting and additional Committee of the Whole. Councilmember Todd’s “Office of and Commission on Nightlife and Culture Establishment Act of 2018” passed its final vote at the Legislative Meeting. Councilmember Todd introduced the“Sense of the Council Supporting Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act Resolution of 2018” to declare the sense of the Council that the United States Congress reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which helps prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. VAWA was passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000, 2005 and 2014 to provide grants to victim services. Councilmember Todd also presented a Ceremonial Resolution honoring Andrea Roane, Ward 4 resident, thank her for 37 years of service to journalism at WUSA and congratulating her on retirement.
Councilmember Todd presents Andrea Roane a Ceremonial Resolution
Short-Term Rental Regulation
Council unanimously passed the first reading of the Short Term Rental Regulation and Affordable Housing Protection Act of 2017. While Councilmember Todd supports the broad regulatory framework in the bill, he has serious apprehensions with the limitations on home owners. Specifically, he believes that the 90-day limit on one’s primary residence and the ban on secondary homes is too restrictive and represents an unreasonable imposition by the Government on private property owners. Over the coming weeks, Councilmember Todd looks forward to working with his colleagues to address these concerns. He hopes that by the time Council reaches a final reading on the bill in November, we will have crafted legislation that strikes the right balance and keeps the District well-positioned to sustainably take advantage of all the sharing economy has to offer. Read his full statement HERE.
For more information regarding hearings or legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Keiko Yoshino, at email@example.com or (202) 724-8052.
Special Message On Initiative 77
Yesterday, the Council voted 8-5 on the first of two votes to repeal Initiative 77, the ballot measure that eliminates the tipped minimum wage. I voted in favor of the repeal bill, and I want to ensure you understand my rationale for doing so. I absolutely do not take lightly overturning a measure passed by the voters. However, as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, it is my responsibility to ensure our laws protect the best interests of the District. I believe sincerely that the action Council took yesterday is in-line with those responsibilities.
The overarching issue throughout the entire debate surrounding Initiative 77 has been wage theft. Wage theft is a serious issue because it deprives workers and their families of much-needed income for their basic living needs, and it can rob a worker of their dignity and have lasting emotional and material impacts. To be clear, I fully support the underlying intention of Initiative 77 to address the very legitimate issue of a worker’s right to fair wages.
However, after hours of testimony, research, and countless phone calls, emails, and visits from both sides, my conclusion is that eliminating the tipped minimum wage is not an effective means of addressing wage disparities and wage theft.
The District of Columbia is, and continues to be, committed to protecting workers’ rights to fair wages and overtime pay, as well as sick and family leave. That is why we have enacted some of the most progressive laws in the country, including a $15 minimum wage by 2020, which I was proud to support.
The District has strong wage theft laws and enforcement mechanisms in place. And the bill I supported yesterday included a new provision establishing a wage theft tip line. Existing law provides that employers who fail to pay their workers what is legally required, or do not pay their workers on time, can be liable for up to four times the amount of those unpaid wages. Currently, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) collects quarterly reports from businesses that employ tipped wage employees. They have implemented a new tipped wage portal on their website to make confidential reporting easier. By law, employers are required to place posters with the D.C. minimum wage requirements and the contact information for DOES in easily-viewable areas for the employees to see.
Anyone can call DOES to lodge a concern or request for help if they believe they are a victim of wage theft, or know of such abuse. These calls can be completed anonymously, meaning they cannot be tracked back to the employee. The call will automatically trigger a DOES audit of the business, and may result in enforcement action against any infractions they find.
I also introduced the “Protecting Immigrants from Extortion Amendment Act of 2018.” which expands the crime of extortion to include protections for immigrants – common victims of wage theft – and gives immigrants a stronger legal basis for reporting extortion of any type, including wage theft.
While the District has strong wage theft laws, where we fall short is the public education and outreach. I credit Initiative 77 with raising the important issue of wage theft and identifying that a greater emphasis must be put on advertising how employees can seek the wages to which they are entitled. In pursuit of this effort, my office will be meeting with representatives from DOES, and the Offices of Latino, Asian, African, and African American Affairs to discuss how we can better ensure workers understand their legal rights under existing law. We will examine what resources we have in place and what additional resources we need to arm workers with the knowledge required to hold bad-actor employers accountable. We will also be meeting with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure they have the resources to investigate wage theft complaints.This is just the beginning of the conversation about tangible actions that move the needle on addressing wage theft.
We must be honest about the problems we are trying solve, and in my opinion, eliminating or changing the tipped minimum wage will not end wage theft. It will only move the burden of labor costs onto our small business owners, who make up 96% of the food and beverage industry in the District and are our neighbors and friends.
Many have been quick to say that anyone who opposes 77 is in the pockets of big business and lobbyists. I must dispel that notion, once and for all. This initiative is not about big business. It’s about small business. It’s about the hundreds of tipped employees – the very people who Initiative 77 intended to help — who have made numerous trips to my office, have signed letters and petitions, and have invited me to meetings to ask for my support.
This initiative will change the livelihood of our neighbors and friends. People like Kelly and Tim Shuy, owners of Ledo’s Pizza on Upper Georgia Avenue, who are long-time residents of Shepherd Park; Nic Makris, owner of Petworth’s Homestead on Georgia Avenue, who lives in Park View; Matt Croke, the owner of Moreland’s Tavern on Colorado Avenue, who lives right nearby in Brightwood; and Paul Ruppert, the owner of Upshur Books, Petworth Citizen, and Slim’s Diner on Upshur Street, who lives in Chevy Chase DC.
These small business owners give our city and our communities so much, and we must hear them when they tell us that Initiative 77 will create a hardship for them and their employees. They have run the numbers and know they cannot absorb 100% of the labor costs. I voted “yes” to repeal Initiative 77 because I stand with our tipped wage workers. I stand with our small businesses. I stand with our neighbors and our friends. I will work hard to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and receive the wages they deserve.
Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4
Week In Review
Councilmember Todd Celebrates Community Across Ward 4
Councilmember Todd had a very busy week celebrating community all across the Ward. Last Wednesday, he attended the “Taste of Uptown” event hosted by the Uptown Main Street. Councilmember Todd enjoyed sampling the many delicious offerings from restaurants on Upper 14th and Kennedy Streets, NW. Last Thursday, Councilmember Todd attended the Metropolitan Police Department’s Second District Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) Awards Banquet, where he congratulated the officers and citizens who help keep the Second District safe, and presented a Ceremonial Resolution honoring Samantha Nolan, the Chair of 2D CAC. Last Friday, the Councilmember attended the Roosevelt-Ballou football game to cheer on our Roosevelt Rough Riders.
On Saturday, Councilmember Todd marched in the Fiesta DC Parade to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (organized by Ward 4 resident Maria Patricia Corrales Peñafiel), attended the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association’s 70th Anniversary Luncheon, and celebrated the 100th birthday of Ward 4 resident Mrs. Helen Geneva Williams Lee Bell. He also attended two block parties in Chevy Chase DC and celebrated the 30th anniversary of CRP, Inc, a business owned by Ward 4 resident Dr. Carolyn B. Rudd, by presenting a Ceremonial Resolution at their reception
Mark Your Calendar
Oregon Avenue Community Meeting & Update:
Wednesday, Oct 24th, 7 PM, Chevy Chase Community Center
Councilmember Todd will be holding a community meeting regarding the Oregon Avenue construction. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 24th at 7:00 PM at the Chevy Chase Community Center (5601 Connecticut Ave, NW). The District Department of Transportation and DC Water have been invited to update neighbors on the ongoing construction work and answer questions. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.
Join Councilmember Todd For The
Sherman Circle Halloween Parade:
Sunday, October 28th, 4 PM – 6 PM
Fourth Annual State of the Ward 4 Senior Address:
Thursday, October 25th, 10 AM – 2 PM, Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center RSVP TODAY
Join Councilmember Todd for the Fourth Annual State of the Ward 4 Senior Address on Thursday, October 25th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center (501 Riggs Road, NE). Come access information and resources from dozens of senior-serving vendors, enjoy complimentary breakfast & lunch, and learn how the Government of the District of Columbia is here to serve our seniors. We hope to see you there!
Zion Baptist Church Presents: “Pink Meets Blue,” Event
To Raise Awarness of Breast & Prostate Cancer
Join Zion’s Health Ministry in partnership with the Zion’s Hospitality, Media and Publicity Ministries in presenting “Pink Meets Blue:” a cancer forum celebrating survival of breast and prostate cancers. Presented by Dr. Leslie Cooper, Health Ministry Chair
and Rev. Dr. Keith W. Byrd, Sr., Pastor.
Come for Cancer Snapchats, Pampering Services, Games, Prizes, Light Refreshments and Fun for all Ages. Following the 10:15 morning service – join us in the Fellowship Hall for a “Special Program” for those Missing at the Table. Qeestions? Call Zion Baptist Church DC at 202-722-4940
DC Public Education Master Facilities
Plan Community Meeting:
Tuesday, Oct 9th, 6:30 PM, Roosevelt High School
Martes, 9 de octubre, 6:30PM
Roosevelt High School 4301 13th St NW
Metro Station: Georgia Ave-Petworth (Green/Yellow)
DSLBD Accepting Applications For South Dakota Ave/Riggs Rd/3rd St Main Street, Attend Information Sessions To Learn More
The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is soliciting applications from eligible applicants to operate a DC Main Streets program for South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Rd/3rd Street NW. The purpose of DC Main Streets program is to assist business districts with the retention, expansion and attraction of neighborhood-serving retail stores and unify and strengthen the commercial corridor. $175,000 will be awarded for each service area. The submission deadline is Friday, November 2, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. The Notice of Funding Availability and Request for Applications can be found at: https://dslbd.dc.gov/page/fy19-ward-5-dc-main-streets.
DSLBD has planned 2 information sessions for this Main Street grant:
This application information session will allow potential applicants to walk through the application, learn how to use the application page online, and ask questions.
Ward 4 Seniors:
Learn How To Reduce Your Tax Liability At Workshop:
Wednesday, October 10th, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM,Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center
The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) will host a series of workshops in October to educate senior residents about real property tax relief programs that are available to reduce their tax liability. The workshops, which are supported by the Office of Aging, will take place at various senior wellness centers across the city.
Seniors can receive assistance with: Senior Assessment Cap, Homestead Deduction, Homeowner/Renter Property Tax Income Tax Credit (Schedule H), Lower Income, Long-Term Homeowners Income Tax Credit, Property Tax Deferral, Low-Income Senior Homeowners, and Senior or Disabled Owner Tax Relief. The workshops are free and open to the public.
For additional information, please contact OTR’s Customer Service Center at (202) 727-4TAX (4829).
Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awarenes Month,
and Hispanic Heritage Month
This October we mark National Breast Cancer Awarness Month to raise awareness of this terrible disease, work toward a cure, and promote early detection, education, and support services. To learn more, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website: www.nationalbreastcancer.org.
We also mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October. Yesterday, Councilmember Todd joined his colleagues in wearing purple to help shine a light on domestic violence and support survivors. In 2017, there were 35,909 domestic violence-related 911 calls in the District. To help #SpreadLoveDC, visit the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s site: www.dccadv.org.
Finally, September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month, when we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture. With the District’s largest Latino population, Councilmember Todd is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Visit www.hispanicheritagemonth.org to learn more.