July 11, 2018

Dear Neighbor,

This Friday, the Council of the District of Columbia will enter its annual summer recess. I see these two months as an opportunity to get out of the Wilson Building and spend time in Ward 4, directly learning more about the concerns of residents and fostering a sense of community among neighbors. It is also a time to conduct more in-depth research on Ward 4 and the District’s most pressing issues, and make plans for how those problems can be legislatively addressed.

As part of my summer community outreach, I invite you to a town hall that I am co-hosting with the Ward 4 Education Alliance to gather input on what you would like to see in the next DC Public Schools Chancellor. The town hall will take place next Tuesday, July 17th at Emery Heights Community Center from 7 to 8:30 PM. I also invite you to celebrate the groundbreaking of Walter Reed’s Abrams Hall, a new 80-unit affordable housing community, next Monday, July 16th at 10:30 AM. More information on both events can be found below.

During the Council’s summer recess, I am inviting key agencies in the Government of the District of Columbia to publish letters to Ward 4 residents in “Ward 4 Weekly” regarding their projects, policies, and priorities. I see this as an excellent opportunity to improve communication between our government agencies and Ward 4 residents. Our government brings to bear an array of agencies with a range of missions and tools to deliver on our commitment to serving District residents and providing world-class government services.

With public safety at the top of mind during the summer, this week’s newsletter features a letter from Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham. I am pleased to facilitate communication so that residents can know what our government agencies are doing on their behalf and gain a stronger understanding of how our government functions. I look forward to this summer’s series of guest letters, and hope that you do as well!


Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4

Guest Letter: MPD Chief Peter Newsham

Dear Residents, Neighbors, and Friends,

Thank you for this valuable opportunity to contribute to the Ward 4 Weekly Newsletter. I am happy to speak about some District-wide public safety matters as well as a couple of the Metropolitan Police Department’s key initiatives and upcoming events. First, on June 12, 2018, the District of Columbia hosted a successful parade and rally to celebrate the Washington Capital’s very first Stanley Cup victory.  The Department worked around-the-clock to help coordinate the logistics and security, and the Capital’s fans did not let us down, with the result being an enjoyable and safe experience for all.

After nearly 50 years since it was last held in the District, we look forward to hosting the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 17, as well as the All-Star Week events starting July 13. Multiple agencies, including MPD, have been planning these events for nearly one year, and we anticipate a fun and safe week. For all those participating in the upcoming festivities, we would like to remind everyone to use safety precautions, common sense, and good judgment. Please remember: if you see something, say something!

Additionally, the Department has been gearing up for two of our annual summer events: Beat the Streets and National Night Out. Please find the dates and details directly below, and we hope to see you there!

Beat the Streets
Wednesday, July 25th, 2018, 4300 Arkansas Ave NW (2:00 pm to 7:30 pm)

Beat the Streets is an annual summer event where MPD partners with local social service agencies and community vendors to coordinate a community festival. Community members (of all ages) enjoy musical performances from local bands and artists, as well as a street festival-like environment with local vendors and social service agencies. This is an informal opportunity to meet some of your Fourth District officers and officials while enjoying dancing, free food, and fun.

National Night Out
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018, Emery Recreation Center at 5701 Georgia Ave NW (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm) National Night Out is an annual event, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, which takes place on the first Tuesday in August. Each year, MPD engages community members to join with neighbors and police officers throughout the city to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, support and participate in crime prevention activities, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and community partnerships.

Finally, I am glad to report that between January 1 and July 9, 2018, violent crime in Washington, DC is down 8 percent when compared to the same period in 2017. In the Fourth Police District, violent crime is down 7 percent when compared to 2017. These violent crime reductions speak to the hard work and diligence of the Department, working with our strong partners in the community. I appreciate the support as we could not do it without you. We look forward to continuing our work together to grow existing relationships, foster new ones, and, ultimately, prevent and combat crime in the District.


Chief Peter Newsham
Metropolitan Police Department

Legislative Update

Legislative Meeting: On Tuesday, July 10th, the Council met in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building for an additional Committee of the Whole & Legislative Meeting. Councilmember Todd introduced two bills that reduce the tax burden in DC and advance key policy priorities around transportation and housing.

Councilmember Todd’s Introductions:

  • “The Rideshare Tax Reduction Amendment Act of 2018”
    • The legislation replaces the recently-passed flat tax on rideshare with a tiered tax. Under this proposal, the tax rate for shared or “pooled” rides would be reduced to 1%, while single rides would continue to be taxed at the 6% rate that Council approved in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Act. The proposal has the support of a number of notable organizations, such as the Federal City Council, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Greater Greater Washington, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and 11 Business Improvement Districts. It follows similar tiered tax models instituted in New York and New Jersey.
  • “Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment Act of 2018”
    • This legislation increases the Homestead Exemption for residential properties owned by single families and cooperative housing associations from $73,350 to $125,000. These savings would prove extremely beneficial for families, first time home buyers, and senior citizens trying to keep up with the rising cost of living in the District.
  • Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018″
    • Councilmember Todd joined six of his colleagues in co-introducing legislation that would repeal Initiative 77. Read his full statement HERE

Upcoming Hearings: 

Thursday, July 12
Committee on Transportation & Environment, 10AM RM120

  • “DC Water Consumer Protection Amendment Act of 2018” B22-662
    • As introduced, this bill requires that on or before December 1, 2018, and by December 1 of every subsequent year, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority shall provide the Council and the Mayor an annual report detailing customer inquiries and complaints received and their outcomes. Among  other things it grants the Office of People’s Counsel authority to represent District residents in matters related to DC Water.

Committee of the Whole, 9:30AM RM500

  • “Substandard Construction Relief Amendment Act of 2018” B22-683
    • As introduced, this bill requires that Code violators who damage adjoining or abutting property be ordered to repair the damage or pay restitution to the property owner.
  • “Blighted Property Redevelopment Amendment Act of 2018” B22-684
    • As introduced, this bill authorizes the Mayor to reclassify blighted vacant properties as vacant properties when provided with evidence that a property owner will meet the vacant property definition prior to final inspection. It also establishes the criteria used to determine that a vacant building is not a blighted vacant building.

For more information regarding hearings or legislation, please contact my Legislative Director, Keiko Yoshino, at kyoshino@dccouncil.us or (202) 724-8052.

Did You Know?

Beatrice Davis-Williams & Paul Ruppert:
Improving the Ward 4 Community

Beatrice Davis-Williams is the founder of the Davis Center and Executive Director of Arts for Our Children, Inc. (AFOC).  Since 1969, the Davis Center has provided dance instruction and related arts education to Washington, DC metropolitan area residents of all ages and varied backgrounds.  Using dance and music as tools, the Davis Center aims to instill in its students an enduring appreciation for the arts while at the same time helping them to develop perseverance, self-confidence, respect for others and the ability to work as a team.  As founder of the Davis Center, which is currently celebrating its 50th year as a Washington, DC community institution, Ms. Davis-Williams has serve the community in a variety of ways.  She has trained thousands of young people in dance and related arts.  Davis-Williams has also take youth to perform at senior citizen centers, nursing homes, recreation centers and schools, and other community institutions.  The youth have also traveled nationally and internationally to study and perform.

Paul W. Ruppert is a Ward 4 resident and business-owner and a native Washingtonian. Both he and his four children attended Lafayette Elementary School in Chevy Chase. He owns several businesses in the Petworth neighborhood, including Upshur Street BooksPetworth Citizen andSlim’s Diner. Paul’s dedication to his city and to the Petworth neighborhood are evident in his support for many local organizations including Powell Elementary School, Lincoln’s Cottage and the Petworth Arts organization. One recent project he co-created is the Petworth Community Wall, a place for rotating artwork in an alley off Upshur Street. Over the past 25 years he has served on many boards including Dupont Underground, Capital Fringe and the Anacostia Playhouse. He recently expanded into consulting and is active in the areas of small business development and the intersection of real estate and the arts. Current clients include the STABLE Arts Studios, Align Development and the Small Theatre Working Group.

Week In Review

Councilmember Todd Celebrates Independence Day
At Palisades Parade, Crestwood & Barnaby Woods

Councilmember Todd enjoyed celebrating this July 4th with friends and neighbors. He started off the day at the Crestwood Parade, a tradition that continues to attract more and more families every year. Afterwards, Councilmember Todd led a team of dedicated Ward 4 residents in the 52nd Annual Palisades Parade, seeing many Ward 4 residents along the route. Later in the afternoon he stopped by the annual Barnaby Woods block party. Councilmember Todd hopes that everyone had a fun and safe Independence Day! 

Councilmember Todd, Mayor Bowser, City Leaders Open DC United’s New Audi Field

Monday afternoon, Councilmember Todd joined Mayor Bowser, his Council colleagues, city officials, and DC United for the opening of the new Audi Field. The Councilmember enjoyed getting a sneak peak of the stunning new facility, as well as getting to meet Wayne Rooney! It is a fitting home for our DC United soccer team.

To learn more about Audi Field, visit www.dcunited.com/audi-field.

Mark Your Calendar

Join Councilmember Todd, Mayor Bowser at
Abrams Hall Groundbreaking At Walter Reed:
Monday, July 16th, 10:30 – 11:30 AM


Join Councilmember Brandon Todd, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner for the groundbreaking of a new 80-unit senior affordable housing community on the Parks at Walter Reed. Monday, July 16, 2018 from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Located at Parks at Walter Reed (1322 Main Drive NW, Washington, DC 20037). Please enter at the Walter Reed entrance at6900 Georgia Ave NW at Butternut – the main gate of the campus to be directed to the site.

Register and learn more at eventbrite.com/e/abrams-hall-groundbreaking-on-walter-reed-tickets-47955380835.

Councilmember Todd & Ward 4 Education Alliance Town Hall On New DCPS Chancellor:
Tuesday, July 17, 7 – 8:30 PM, Emery Heights Community Center

Join Councilmember Brandon Todd and the Ward 4 Education Alliance for a townhall to gather input on what residents would like to see in the next DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor as Mayor Bowser embarks on the selection process. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 17th at Emery Heights Community Center from 7:00 to 8:30 PM. Councilmember Todd believes that resident input is critical to selecting the next DCPS Chancellor, the face of public education in the District. He looks forward to engaging with residents to ensure that this important decision is made in consultation with parents, families, students, and the many stakeholders that comprise our education system.

For more information, contact Keiko Yoshino at kyoshino@dccouncil.us

Important Announcements

Beach Drive Construction Update

From the National Park Service (NPS):

Beach Drive reconstruction transition from Segment 3 to Segment 4
On or about Monday, July 9, we will reopen Segment 3 of Beach Drive. We hope the road will open after the evening rush hour and be ready for morning rush hour traffic on or about Tuesday, July 10. Segment 3 is between Broad Branch Road/Blagden Avenue NW and Joyce Road NW. We will begin work on Segment 4 of Beach Drive shortly after Segment 3 opens. Segment 4 is between Joyce Road NW and the Maryland – District of Columbia Border. We will close Segment 4 to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists until work there is done around fall 2019. Drivers will be able to cross Rock Creek Park using Wise Road NW for several months until work crews reach it. For public safety, we will also close some trails that are near Segment 4 of Beach Drive. Learn more at go.nps.gov/beachdrive.

Bingham Road closure through Rock Creek Park between Oregon Avenue and Beach Drive
Until the completion of Segment 4 of the Beach Drive Rehabilitation project in 2019, Bingham Drive NW will remain closed between Oregon Avenue NW and Beach Drive NW. The closure is to facilitate DC Water’s rehabilitation of sewer infrastructure along Oregon Avenue NW between Rittenhouse Street NW and Beech Street NW and NPS’s rehabilitation of Beach Drive between Joyce Road and the Maryland State Line. The paved trail adjacent to Bingham Drive NW, which connects Oregon Avenue NW to Beach Drive, will remain open for pedestrians and cyclists during construction. For information about roadwork associated with these projects and for detour information, visit www.dcwater.com/workzones/projects/oregon-avenue-sewer-rehab.cfm and go.nps.gov/beachdrive.

Ross Drive, Ridge Road, Morrow Drive reopening
On or about the evening of July 9, we will reopen Morrow Drive NW, Ross Drive NW, and Ridge Road NW to vehicle traffic. More information at go.nps.gov/beachdrive.

Beach Drive closure near Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway for tree removal
On Wednesday, July 11th, work crews will close both the north and south bound lanes of Beach Drive from the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway to Porter Street NW from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. During this time, workers will divert all northbound traffic onto Shoreham Drive NW. They will divert southbound traffic onto Porter Street NW. The closure will allow workers to safety remove dead, hazardous trees and clean-up tree debris close to Beach Drive. If there is bad weather, this work will be rescheduled later in the week.

Beach Drive closure near Piney Branch Parkway for tree removal
On Thursday, July 12th, work crews will close both the north and south bound lanes of Beach Drive from Park Road to Piney Branch Parkway NW from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. During this time, workers will divert all northbound traffic onto Piney Branch Parkway NW and the southbound traffic will be diverted onto Park Road NW. The closure will allow workers to safety remove several dead, hazardous trees close to Beach Drive. If there is bad weather, this work will be rescheduled later in the week.

Jazz In The Parks: Sat, July 21, 4-7 PM, Walter Reed

The Parks at Walter Reed will welcome the neighborhood on July 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to enjoy an evening of DC jazz talent, fun, food, entertainment and community gathering for Jazz in The Parks.

D.C. is a city with deep connections to jazz music and The Parks is excited to be able to bring together both music and community on its Great Lawn and campus.

In addition to live entertainment and lawn games, the event will provide refreshments via food trucks, kid friendly drinks and adult beverages. Be sure to check the www.TheParksDC.com for updated information.

Neighbors, families and friends are all invited to join. There will be limited seating available, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets. Limited parking is available onsite.

If there should be inclement weather for any concert, Jazz in The Parks will be rescheduled for the Sunday immediately following from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, follow on Twitter @TheParksDC  for regular updates or reach out to TheParksDC@gmail.com with individual questions.

Join Councilmember Todd & Neighbors To Celebrate 154th Anniversary of Battle of Ft. Stevens: Saturday, July 14th 10 AM – 4 PM

Mark your calendar and join Councilmember Todd and neighbors on Saturday, July 14, anytime from 10 am to 4 pm for the commemoration of the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens – the only Civil War battle in the Nation’s Capital and the only time in the history of the United States that a sitting President (Lincoln) has come under direct enemy fire. Attached is our flyer and program – please feel free to share with your own family, neighbors and friends.

Ft Stevens is located at 13th and Quackenbos Streets NW (also known as Elizabeth Thomas Way), Washington DC. The commemoration is sponsored by the National Park Service with the support of the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington. It will feature a special opening program at 10 am, followed by military and civilian reenactors, hourly musket firings, talks by Civil War historians, living history demonstrations, live period music and Civil War dancing, and special programs for children and teens.

For additional Information, visit https://www.nps.gov/cwdw/planyourvisit/anniversary-of-the-battle-of-fort-stevens.htm or https://www.dccivilwarforts.org/news-events. The NPS contact is Park Ranger Kenya Finley (202) 829 -2163.

Volunteers are needed to help for a couple hours during the day. If you are willing – and we do need you! – please email Loretta Neumann at: Lneu@rcn.com.

Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarship Applications Due July 17th

The Executive Office of the Mayor has partnered with the Department of Employment Services, Office of Youth Programs (DOES) to pilot the Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarship. Through the Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarship, DOES seeks to support the post-secondary endeavors of participants in the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP). The Mayor’s Opportunity Scholarship will provide 75 scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each for young adults ages 18-24, who have successfully attained a high school diploma or equivalent, participated in 2018 MBSYEP and enrolled in post-secondary education or occupational skills training or the military.

To learn more and submit an application, visit: webapps.does.dc.gov/OYP/BOSS.html.

Ward 4 Council Staff

Brandon T. Todd

(202) 724-8052
Sherryl H. Newman
Chief of Staff 
(o) (202) 724-8052
(c) (202) 215-5455

Jackson Carnes
Director of Constituent Services
(o)(202) 741-5293
(c)(202) 316-9078

Keiko Yoshino
Legislative Director
(o) (202) 724-7774
(c) (202) 717-2782

Faye Caldwell
Special Assistant
(202) 724-6663

Christine Kulumani
Legislative Counsel
(202) 790-6837
Dolly Turner
Deputy Chief of Staff
(o) (202) 654-6406
(c) (202) 412-2024

Gary Johnson
Constituent Service Coordinator
(o)(202) 724-8029
(c) (202) 304-8123

Joshua Fleitman
Director of Communications
(o) (202) 724-8191
(c) 202-294-2506

Manny Geraldo
Senior Legislative Counsel
(o) (202) 724-8035

LaRoya Huff
Community Outreach Coordinator
(o) (202) 724-8106
(c) (202) 368-2518


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Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T.Todd
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