March 27, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

You are invited to join us this Friday, March 29th at 3:00 PM as Mayor Bowser and I break ground on another exciting new step in the redevelopment of the Walter Reed campus — the Brooks and Vale Buildings. Located in the southwest corner of Georgia Avenue, NW and Aspen Street, NW, this project will be the first entirely new building construction on the former Walter Reed campus. It will be comprised of 35 affordable condominiums and 365 market-rate apartments, as well as 18,000 square feet of new retail space fronting Georgia Avenue, NW. I hope you can join us to celebrate the continuing progress at Walter Reed! 

I also want to take this opportunity to provide some general updates on the redevelopment of Walter Reed, the single greatest economic development opportunity that the District has seen in a generation. The demolition of Building 2, the 1970’s-era main hospital building, is ongoing. Demolition is scheduled to be completed by April 2019, and crushing/recycling of concrete will continue through the summer. The full scope of work is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2019. 

This summer, we will also complete Abrams Hall (80 units of senior affordable housing) and Help USA (77 affordable units for previously homeless veterans), which we broke ground on last summer. In the coming months, we will welcome the first residents to campus! The northern building, or “Abrams Hall Assisted Living,” was 1 of 11 projects selected by Mayor Bowser to receive affordable housing funding, and will deliver 54 affordable residential units with full services. As a result of this award, the project will now proceed into final design and underwriting. This building will be developed by Hines, Urban Atlantic, and Housing Up to provide the District’s first affordable Continuum of Care community. This will allow senior residents the opportunity to age-in-place safely and comfortably, transitioning from independent to assisted living, if needed. The project meets a growing need for affordable assisted living in Ward 4 and across the District.

As in years past, with the warmer weather, the campus will host neighborhood events such as the Ward 4 Easter Egg Roll on April 20th, which you can learn more about below, as well as thecommunity paint party and yard sale on March 30th, Jazz in The Parks, weekly Fitness in The Parks classes, and The Parks farmers market. I look forward to continued progress at Walter Reed!

Sincerely,

Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember, Ward 4
#Ward4Proud

Legislative Update

Committee of the Whole: On Tuesday, April 2nd, the Council will meet in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building for their regularly scheduled Legislative Meeting.

The Mayor has published a powerpoint explaining the budget highlights. It can be found HERE
Read a few of the Ward 4 highlights from Mayor Bowser’s proposed FY 2020 budget on Councilmember Todd’s twitter page HERE.

Upcoming Budget Hearings

Budget Hearing Schedule: 

Monday, April 1

  • Recreation & Youth Affairs Committee, Room 500, 1PM-END
    • Dept. of Youth Rehabilitation Services
    • Juvenile Abscondence
  • Committee on Education, Room 412, 11:30AM-END
    • District of Columbia Public Library
  • Transportation & Environment Committee, Room 120, 11:00AM-END
    • Dept. of Energy & Environment
       

Wednesday, April 3

  • Business & Economic Development Committee, Room 500, 10:00AM-END
    • Dept. of Small and Local Business
    • Dept. of Insurance, Securities and Banking
    • Dept. of For Hire Vehicles
  • Finance & Revenue, Room 412, 10:00AM-END
    • Commission on the Arts and Humanities
  • Facilities & Procurement Committee, Room 123, 10:00AM-END
    • Office of Contract & Procurement
    • Contract Appeals Board
  • Judiciary Committee, Room 500, 11-3PM
    • DC Sentencing Commission
    • Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
    • Criminal Code Reform Commission
       

Thursday, April 4

  • Facilities & Procurement Committee, Room 500, 10:00AM-END
    • Dept. of General Services
  • Judiciary Committee, Room 412, 9:30AM-4PM
    • Office Victims Services Justice & Grants
    • Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
    • Office of Unified Communications
  • Human Services, Room 123, 10:00AM-ENd
    • Department of Disability Services
    • Office of Disability Rights
  • Education Committee/COW, Room 120 10:00AM-END
    • Public Charter School Board

Friday, April 5

  • Finance & Revenue Committee, Room 500, 10:00AM-END
    • Real Property Tax Appeals Commission
    • DC Lottery
    • Office of the Chief Financial Officer
  • Recreation & Youth Affairs Committee, Room 412, 10:00AM-END
    • Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Government Operations, Room 123 10:00AM-END
    • ORM, OHR, OAH
  • Labor & Workforce Development Committee, Room 120, 10:00AM-END
    • Office of Employee Appeals
    • Public Employee Relations Board

DC Council Budget Hearings begin March 22, 2019. Visit dccouncilbudget.com to see the full schedule and learn more about how you can participate in the Council’s budget process. 

See the full Council calendar at: dccouncil.us/events

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

In Case You Missed It

D.C. should Invest in middle-class housing affordability

By Brandon T. Todd
Read Councilmember Todd’s recent op-ed on the Washington Post website HERE

The District is facing an affordability crisis. Residents new and old, from all eight wards and of all races, ages and family sizes are finding it increasingly difficult to balance the costs of child care, utilities, transportation, health care and education. Washingtonians are leaving the city they love simply because they can no longer afford to live here. Bold action is required in response.

The multifaceted and broad affordability crisis manifests itself most acutely in the housing sector. Effective public policy to address affordable housing must therefore also be multifaceted and broad. That is why I introduced the Homestead Exemption Increase Act of 2019, a bill pending before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue.

This legislation would increase the District’s existing Homestead tax deduction from its current $74,850 to $125,000. This would allow homeowners the ability to deduct the first $125,000 from their property assessment. The proposed expansion would put an average of $426 back into the household budgets of nearly 200,000 District homeowners. Homeownership is the bedrock of our middle class, the source of considerable tax revenue for city services and the foundation of strong and stable neighborhoods, which is more important than ever as the District experiences breakneck growth and change.

Thousands of homeowners throughout the District fall squarely in the middle and lower-middle class. Longtime residents have inherited legacy homes or decades ago purchased homes at a fraction of their current value. New residents spent their life savings on down payments. Both groups are committed and proud Washingtonians, but are struggling with the costs of homeownership, such as sizable mortgages and maintenance expenses and, yes, increasing property taxes. For young families, there are also the additional costs of raising children in the District.

According to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, 63 percent of homes in the District are assessed at less than $600,000. It is inaccurate and irresponsible to assume that anyone who owns a home is flush with cash. The data show that the value of their homes is more a reflection of the stunning increase in property values than an indication of their liquid wealth.

The value of homes in the District has risen much faster than the region and nation, placing a heavy tax burden on D.C. homeowners. According to an April 2017 report from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) based on research conducted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, between 2002 and 2016, the District’s average home price grew 147 percent, compared to 55 percent regionally and 36 percent nationally.

This is a policy with the breadth necessary to provide a tangible benefit to a wide swath of D.C. residents struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living in the District. My colleagues on the D.C. Council initially recognized this by passing the bill out of committee on a 4-1 vote.

Since then, some members of the advocacy community have incorrectly stated that this legislation represents a giveaway to the richest among us. This could not be farther from the truth.

Some opponents of the legislation have argued that the District cannot afford this middle-class tax break. This is again a misrepresentation of the facts. According to the OCFO, in 2019, the District will collect more than $445 million in residential property taxes from homeowners. In 2020, the OCFO predicts the District will collect more than $480 million. That $35 million increase would cover almost the entire fiscal impact of the legislation.

Who is fighting for the middle-class families who could use this small benefit to offset the 2020 increase in their taxes? Who is willing to stand up for the people who have invested and worked hard and are the backbone of our city? Why are the opponents of this bill not willing to speak up for those who would, if given the assistance they need to remain in the city, continue to help fund the very programs that are needed for the less fortunate?

In a city as prosperous as ours, we can undoubtedly afford to invest in our middle class; it is simply a matter of political will.

No one is arguing that this legislation is a panacea for affordable housing or rising tax costs. Yes, renters are feeling the same financial pressure as homeowners. The District has responded by investing hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing, which I wholeheartedly support. We can and should do more for renters. And we can and should look at increasing benefits through programs such as Schedule H. However, we ignore the plight of homeowners who cannot qualify for these programs at our own peril.

The District must decide if we are to have a government that responds to the needs of all our residents or one that shuns the concerns of our middle class.

After initially passing its committee vote, this legislation was referred back to committee because of lack of support. Since then, I have heard from hundreds of Washingtonians who agree that middle-class families and homeowners across the District deserve a break. For them, I will continue to advocate passage of the Homestead Exemption Increase Act of 2019.

Mark Your Calendar

Target at Georgia & Eastern Ave Ribbon Cutting On April 2nd, Grand Opening April 7th; Employment Available

Councilmember Todd invites neighbors to join him in celebrating the opening of the new Target store at Georgia & Eastern Avenues, NW. The ribbon cutting reception will take place on Tuesday, April 2nd at 6:00 PM. Refreshments will be served during the celebration. The store will be open for business on Sunday, April 7th. The precise address is 7828 Georgia Avenue, NW.

Today, Councilmember Todd toured the store with neighbors. He is extremely excited about this new shopping opportunity for Ward 4 residents and looks forward to seeing the 55 jobs and increased vibrancy and investment that the store will bring.

Target is also still hiring for a few remaining positions at the store. Apply HERE

Councilmember Todd Convenes Community Meeting With Takoma Park, MD Councilmember Kostiuk To Discuss Eastern Ave Infrastructure: Thursday, April 4th, 6:30 PM

Councilmember Todd and Takoma Park, Maryland Councilmember Kostiuk are convening a cross-jurisdictional community meeting on Eastern Avenue Infrastructure Work. All are invited:

DATE: Thursday, April 4, 2019
TIME: 6:30 PM
WHERE: Takoma Park SDA Church, Keystone Room (6810 Eastern Ave, NW)

Join Councilmember Todd, the District Department of Transportation, representatives from utility companies, and officials from the City of Takoma Park, Maryland to discuss construction and cross-jurisdictional coordination of Eastern Avenue road and utility infrastructure projects. 
 
Questions? Contact Jackson Carnes: (202) 724-8052 or jcarnes@dccouncil.us 

DATE CHANGE:
Councilmember Todd Hosts Lamond Office Hours:
Saturday, April 13th, 1:00 – 2:30 PM, Lamond Rec Center

Councilmember Todd invites you to an upcoming office hours event in Lamond. Please note the date change from the prior announcement: 

DATE: Saturday, April 13th
TIME: 1:00 – 2:30 PM
WHERE: Lamond Recreation Center (20 Tuckerman Street, NE)

This is an excellent opportunity for residents to sit down one-on-one with the Councilmember for up to 15 minutes to discuss important issues in Ward 4 and the District of Columbia. Residents will be seen on a first come, first served basis, and are welcome to discuss any issues important to them and their neighbors. If you have questions, please contact LaRoya Huff at LHuff@dccouncil.us or (202) 724-6663.

Ward 4 Easter Egg Roll:
April 20th, 10 AM – 12 Noon, Walter Reed

Councilmember Todd and The Parks at Walter Reed invite neighbors to the 2nd  Annual Ward 4 Spring Celebration and Easter Egg Roll event sponsored by Children’s National!

 DATE: Saturday, April 20th, TIME: 10 AM to 12 PM
WHERE: Walter Reed Campus (enter through Butternut St gate)


The event will feature a wide-variety of family friendly activities including face painting, live music, tasty snacks, festive crafts, lawn games and prize give-aways! The morning of family fun will also feature an egg roll on the beautiful Great Lawn, a time-honored Walter Reed tradition. There will also be a candy-filled egg hunt for children of all ages! Limited seating will be available, but attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets to enjoy the event.

In the case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Sunday immediately following (April 21), from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Parking is available on campus, but space is limited. Attendees are encouraged to either walk or utilize ride-sharing services available in DC.

Important Announcements

Fourth District Returning Citizens Information & Empowerment Session: Thurs, March 28th, 1 PM

New North Middle School Prospective Families Night: Wednesday, April 10th, 5 PM, Whittier EC

Please join New North Middle School for Prospective Families Night on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 5PM at Whittier EC (6201 5th Street NW). We will have the opportunity to head across the street to tour the new building to see the construction progress and learn about the programming at our new school. RSVP with Principal Megan Vroman at (202) 907-8036 or Megan.Vroman@dc.gov

Also, in case you missed it: DCPS has proposed to the DC Council that New North MS be named Ida B. Wells Middle School. Councilmember Todd fully supports the proposal. Ida B. Wells was an iconic African-American investigative journalist, civil rights activist, educator, and researcher. Learn more at: sites.google.com/dc.gov/newnorthms/home

Seeking Engagement With Police About Public Safety?
Attend Monthly CAC and PSA Meetings 

Are you concerned about public safety? Do you want to discuss those concerns with local police leadership? All residents are invited to meet with Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) leadership at recurring monthly Fourth District Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) and Police Service Area (PSA) meetings. The 4D CAC meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at the 4D Community Room (6001 Georgia Ave, NW).4D Commander Randy Griffin attends and is available to hear your concerns. Questions? Contact Judi Jones, 4D CAC Chair, at cariblamond@yahoo.com.

PSA meetings are smaller gatherings with the MPD Lieutenant for geographic areas. Learn which PSA you live in here: geospatial.dcgis.dc.gov/PSAFinder/. Learn your PSA Lieutenant here and the schedule for meetings here: https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/fourth-district-roster

Ward 4 Council Staff

Brandon T. Todd
Councilmember
(202) 724-8052
btodd@dccouncil.us

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

Dolly Turner
Deputy Chief of Staff
(o) (202) 654-6406
(c) (202) 412-2024
dturner@dccouncil.us

Gary Johnson
Constituent Service Coordinator
(o)(202) 724-8029
(c) (202) 304-8123
gjohnson@dccouncil.us

Joshua Fleitman
Director of Communications
(o) (202) 724-8191
(c) 202-294-2506
jfleitman@dccouncil.us

Manny Geraldo
Committee Director, Govt. Operations
(o) (202) 724-8035
mgeraldo@dccouncil.us

Monica Waters
Scheduler/Special Assistant
(o) (202) 654-6421
(c) (202) 706-4750
mwaters@dccouncil.us

Jackson Carnes
Director of Constituent Services
(o)(202) 741-5293
(c)(202) 316-9078
jcarnes@dccouncil.us

Keiko Yoshino
Legislative Director
(o) (202) 724-7774
(c) (202) 717-2782
kyoshino@dccouncil.us

LaRoya Huff
Deputy Director of Constituent Services
(o) (202) 724-8106
(c) (202) 368-2518
Lhuff@dccouncil.us

Raleigh Lancaster
Legislative Counsel
(o) (202) 790-6838
mwaters@dccouncil.us