I know that many of us are still searching for answers and justice regarding the violent and terrorizing actions instigated by white supremacists in our city last weekend. I assure that you that as elected leaders, we take this very seriously – everything from the assaults on innocent residents to the burning of Black Lives Matters flags taken from historic churches – and will be working to investigate these hate crimes and bring charges against the offenders. Violence and hate will have no place here, and it will not be tolerated in our ward or in our city.
On Tuesday, the Council of the District of Columbia held its final legislative meeting of Council Period 23 and passed a series of bills that will help make our city safer, advance our criminal justice reform agenda, improve access to healthcare, and extend the current public health emergency, among other things. You can read more about our final legislative meeting and other Council-wide efforts in the “Legislative Update” section of this newsletter.
The final legislative meeting was also bittersweet, as we bid farewell to At-Large Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Chairperson of the Committee on Government Operations. I want to thank Councilmembers Todd and Grosso for supporting me as I first assumed my role and worked to best serve the residents of Ward 2. We are sad to see them go, but we wish them all of the best in their next steps.
We will also continue to fight for additional funding and resources for our public transit system. This week, the members of the Council discussed Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022. WMATA is currently facing a $500 million revenue shortfall, and ridership and fare collection are expected to be impacted by the public health pandemic even through the summer. Our office is monitoring the situation and will be sure to provide you with important updates. In the meantime, you can visit the WMATA website for the latest news or subscribe for WMATA alerts.
This week I also hosted a Ward 2 Community Meeting on Mental Health. Joining me for the event were representatives from the DC Department of Behavioral Health, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and Children’s National Hospital. Residents learned about the mental health resources available through these great organizations and District government programs. If you could not attend, please don’t worry. We will be holding more events like this in the future and we invite anyone to reach out to our office with questions. Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other – we need connection now more than ever.
I would also like to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Kwanza to all of our neighbors who are celebrating this holiday season. I hope that even in this uncertain time, you find hope and joy in your tradition and celebration.
Yours in Service,
Downtown DC Momentum Awards: This year, Councilmember Pinto joined the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) for their annual Downtown DC Momentum Awards to help honor “the people, places, and projects” that have made Downtown DC a great place to live, work, and play.
In her remarks, Councilmember Pinto shared “As I reflect on the success of this amazing group of honorees, I cannot help but think of the many ways that I have been inspired and influenced to lead in my role as the Ward 2 Councilmember. As I prepare for my upcoming term beginning in January 2021. I am eager to build upon our hard work since entering office last summer.”
To hear Councilmember Pinto’s full address, watch the Downtown DC Momentum Awards ceremony here.
Downtown Holiday Market: This weekend, Councilmember Pinto stopped by the Downtown Holiday Market on 8th and F Streets, NW, to support local vendors and to greet marketgoers in a safe and socially distant manner. The market is open through December 23, from 12 pm to 8 pm daily. For more information, visit: http://downtownholidaymarket.com/.
Women Empowerment on the Ask Rayceen Show: Councilmember Pinto recently joined Councilmembers Elisa Silverman (At-large), Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), and Councilmembers-Elect Christina Henderson (At-Large) and Janeese Lewis George (Ward 4) to discuss how the Council’s incoming female majority will benefit District residents, gender equity, and their upcoming goals for 2021. To watch the Team Rayceen Forum: Women of the DC Council, visit: https://youtu.be/WrcjuQ7AQdU.
The Jelleff Community Center Feasibility Study Published: The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has published information regarding the Jelleff Community Center feasibility study, which includes a timeline detailing the feasibility study process and information on planned community meetings. For more information, visit the DPR website at: https://dpr.dc.gov/page/jelleff-community-center-feasibility-study.
ANC 2E Commissioner Researches Global Disabilities Rights Policies, Wins Marshall Scholarship: Councilmember Pinto would like to extend a here congratulations to Georgetown senior and ANC 2E04 Commissioner Anna Landre. Anna is among three Georgetown students and one alumnus to receive a prestigious 2021 Marshall Scholarship for her research on global disabilities rights policies. Anna will use her award to pursue two master’s degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science next fall. Click here to learn more about Anna’s incredible journey.
Concluding Council Period 23: On Tuesday, December 15, the Council of the District of Columbia convened for the forty-first and final legislative meeting of Council Period 23.
During that time, Councilmember Pinto joined her colleagues in voting to pass legislation that:
Councilmember Pinto also joined her colleagues in passing several measures related to environmental sustainability and support for small and women and minority-owned businesses in the District.
In reflection, Councilmember Pinto stated, “It has been an honor to serve the residents of Ward 2 during the last six months as our city grapples with the devastating effects of COVID-19. I am looking forward to working on their behalf for a full term starting in January 2021 to improve the health of our city, support our small businesses and workers, reduce crime and advance criminal justice reform, and alleviate chronic homelessness.”
For more information about the legislative meeting and to see what bills Councilmember Pinto supported during Council Period 23, please see our press release here.
Public Roundtable Exploring Non-Law Enforcement Alternatives to Meeting Community Needs: This week, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a public roundtable to bring together community members and other public stakeholders to explore non-law enforcement alternatives to meeting community needs.
“I'm pleased to join the Judiciary Committee's public roundtable on Exploring Non-Law Enforcement Alternatives to Meeting Community Needs," wrote Councilmember Pinto. "We know that an over reliance on policing continues to burden DC residents and does not help us to resolve our most pressing issues. Providing mental-health support or simply ticketing or fining are among some alternatives that may not require a police presence or response. I look forward to listening and learning from our many community members and stakeholders today. Engaging in this important conversation allows us to continue advancing criminal justice reform in DC.”
The Downtown D.C. Holiday Market: The DowntownDC Business Improvement District's (BID) 16th annual Downtown Holiday Market is underway and will continue through the end of the month. This year's market is bigger than ever, spanning two entire blocks of F Street NW, from 7th to 9th Streets N.W.
The Downtown Holiday Market will operate daily through Wednesday, Dec. 23 from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Shoppers will be able to enjoy food from a variety of local vendors and enjoy various interactive digital activities as well as livestreamed entertainment.
High contact surfaces around the Market will also be sanitized throughout the day and measures will be taken to adhere to public health guidance.
- Dates: Friday, November 20 - Monday, December 23 (closed Thanksgiving Day)
- Times: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
- Location: F Street from 7th and 9th Streets N.W.
- For more information on the market, visit: www.downtownholidaymarket.com.
Last Call for the Winter Market at Rose Park: Named “Georgetowners of the Year” in 2020, the Friends at Rose Park will hold their last winter market of the year on Wednesday, December 23, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. at 26th and O Streets in Northwest. All are invited to come and enjoy the holiday season and shop with small and local vendors. Please remember to wear a mask, maintain a safe social distance, and stay at home if you are not feeling well.
Robust Citywide Retail Grant Now Available: The Department on Small and Local Business Development has announced the opening of the Robust Citywide Retail Grants applications. This year, the District government intends to award up to $7,500 per business to 106 businesses from the total $800,000. Applications close on January, 28, 2021. For more information, click here.
DDOT Extends 2020 Visitor Parking Passes in 2021: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced that residents should continue to use the existing 2020 Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) into 2021. DDOT also shared that the District plans to launch a streamlined digital parking permit program in 2021. Residents who are new to the District or need a replacement VPP (due to damage or loss) should visit their local Metropolitan Police Department precinct to request a temporary parking pass instead of a VPP.
DDOT also announced that the District will continue to suspend enforcement for the following infractions for the duration of the public health emergency:
A complete list of modifications to District operations is available at coronavirus.dc.gov/page/stay-home.
The Department of Parks and Recreation Wants to Hear from You: The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is undergoing the process to rewrite its Master Plan, a document that will look holistically at all parks and recreational opportunities in the District of Columbia and help us to establish and meet short-, medium-, and long-term goals and strategies. The document will also guide DPR’s future investments and programming decisions for the next 20 years.
DPR will also collaborate with the District of Columbia Public Schools and the National Park Service to address the community needs identified throughout the process. To help determine the priorities and direction of this Master Plan, DPR invites residents to take the Ready2Play Citywide Survey, which can be found at www.ready2playdc.com/citywide-survey. The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and closes on December 20.
Getting (Your Home) Winter Ready: Are you ready to take the first steps toward saving energy and reducing your energy bills this winter? If so, the DC Public Service Commission is here to help. Click here to visit the #WinterReadyDC webpage and complete the form to request a free weatherization kit that includes door and window weather stripping, foam pipe insulation, foam switch and outlet gaskets, and a window insulation shrink kit.