The vitality and resilience of our businesses and commercial corridors is essential to ensuring the long-term strength of our city by strengthening community relationships and boosting our local economy. I continue to be committed to ensuring our businesses across Ward 2 have the necessary supports to be successful.
In this newsletter, I am sharing an update on Monumental Sports announcement that they are exploring options to move the Wizards and the Capitals teams to Virginia and the results of the Foggy Bottom West End Main Street Feasibility Study.
Since I first took office, I have been advocating on behalf of and in partnership with Monumental Sports and Entertainment. I have repeatedly worked alongside them to ensure they had what they needed to continue being a great partner for downtown and all of DC.
Last week, the Mayor and the Council made a strong $500 million offer to Monumental Sports to renovate Capital One Arena. I worked with my colleagues to garner our unanimous support for this proposal. The announcement from Monumental Sports that they were planning on moving the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals to Northern Virginia was extremely disappointing, and it should make us all pause and reflect on how we could have done better as a city and how we can ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. District government must move our proposal forward expeditiously through the legislative process in the new year, while an uncertain and lengthy process plays out in Virginia. I will always fight for our DC teams to stay here at home in DC.
Our downtown needs our focus, and I will continue to push forward the implementation of my RECOVERY Act and the Downtown Action plan to bring more people, residents, and visitors to the area. I also believe that improving our major public safety challenges downtown through my Secure DC plan will help invigorate our downtown and lead to more hope, residents moving there, visitors coming, and additional investment. We will keep fighting for these common sense changes for safety and vision for our beloved downtown.
This past year, I secured funding for a study to determine the feasibility of bringing a Main Street or similar program to the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods. The report strongly recommends establishing a Foggy Bottom-West End Main Street program to serve local businesses.
Main Streets, a grant program housed in the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), promotes the revitalization of 28 business corridors across the District. Main Streets helps to generate job creation, new businesses, and greater investments in public spaces. For example, Main Streets facilitates popular community events like Art All Night in neighborhoods across the District that bring communities together, drive patrons to support local businesses, and ensure the vibrancy of our commercial corridors.
This brings us to Foggy Bottom and West End – Ward 2 neighborhoods with retail, hospitality, office, and residential offerings. Community leaders, business owners, and stakeholders made clear that a feasibility study would be critical to setting up next steps to support this business corridor. Now that a Main Street has been found to be viable, as a next step in this process I will be working to fund the establishment of the Foggy Bottom- West End Main Street in this year’s DSLBD budget so that the Main Street can start providing businesses with support for marketing and branding, customer acquisition, security, and employee retention and acquisition.
I want to thank DSLBD for completing this study and community leaders from the Foggy Bottom Association, West End Citizens Association, Golden Triangle BID, George Washington University, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) Jim Malec, Trupti Patel, Ed Comer, and Jordan Nassar for their valuable insights in this study. You can read the full study and framework here.
Yours in service,
On December 19th, the Committee of the Whole reconvened its hearing on chronic absenteeism and truancy to hear from government witnesses. I asked important questions of the leaders charged with helping to care for our students. 40% of our students miss over three-and-a-half weeks of school per year. I am deeply concerned.
Accessing and obtaining a quality education is one of the fundamental needs and rights of our society. Kids deserve a robust education and to have the opportunity to develop their passions, explore new ideas, and build a fulfilled life. But when students aren't in school, they are deprived of those opportunities.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
I will be following up with these agencies as we head into performance oversight with the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety about what more they will do to get kids to school. Without accountability and consistent follow ups with families, we're saying to kids that attendance is not important & that we do not care about them. We must show our kids we care.
On December 11th, I held a hearing on two initiatives in my Secure DC plan to improve safety in commercial and transit corridors, and on Councilmember Robert White’s response to crime bill. We reconvened on December 19th to hear from our government witnesses.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
I will be working closely with my team and colleagues to review the testimony shared during all of the hearings held this fall. After a thorough and thoughtful review of all of the proposals put forth to and by the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, I am committed to moving forward the most effective proposals through the Committee process. I always want to hear from you if you have feedback or ideas – email my team and me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last few weeks, Councilmember Pinto and Team Pinto have been out and about in Ward 2 and across the city, including to:
Host US Attorney Matt Graves during the Council Breakfast Meeting to discuss prosecution rates and factors that impact it like evidence, drug testing, and discretion and his support for Councilmember Pinto’s Secure DC plan
Join Mayor Bowser and District leaders to discuss the District’s strong and united offer to keep Monumental Sports and our DC sports teams at Capital One Arena
Participate in a public safety roundtable hosted by Councilmember McDuffie to discuss needed coordination between government and community organizations on violence reduction strategies
Speak at the first Annual Georgetown Main Street tree lighting with neighbors and community members
Celebrate Carlos Rosario’s 50th anniversary of providing transformational education services for adults and immigrants in the District with their hospitality program
Meet with the DC Power Leadership Team to discuss public safety and affordable housing initiatives in partnership with our faith institutions
Light the Wilson Building Menorah with Councilmember Nadeau to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah with Council colleagues
Participate in a walk-on role in the Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker performance at Warner’s Theatre to support the arts downtown
Speak at the Georgetown University Holiday Event about the value of community-university relationships
Take the annual Council “Class Photo” for Council Period 25
Speak at the Ribbon Cutting for the new Verstandig Pavilion at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, which will increase capacity for lifesaving care during emergencies
Tour the CitizenM Hotel Project to discuss the CityPartners Pathways initiative to set up an apprentice hotel to strengthen our hospitality job pipeline
Participate in the 10th Anniversary of the City Center Tree Lighting downtown, complete with fireworks and caroling
Tour the DASH Cornerstone Building that provides immediate crisis relief for survivors of domestic violence
Speak at Georgetown Village’s Annual Meeting and celebrate their 12 incredible years of service to the community
Attend DC Bar’s Holiday Party with President Lowery and discuss the essential role our lawyers play to support the civil aide needs of underserved residents
Speak at the Foggy Bottom Association Holiday Party and connect with neighbors to discuss opportunities to ensure Foggy Bottom can thrive
Meet with Greater Washington Partnership leaders to discuss the importance of investments across government, from public safety, to education, to affordable housing, to transit mobility.
Speak at the DC Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting at the Convention Center to discuss the state of our downtown and the needed reflection to forge ahead on an intentional path as we revitalize our downtown core
Visit the White House holiday festivities, one of the esteemed prides of Ward 2, with neighbors
Attend the District-wide ANC Holiday Party at MLK Library to express thanks for their commitment to serve District residents
DCist: ‘It Ain’t Over’: D.C. Officials Hold Out Hope They Can Keep Wizards, Capitals In The City. Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, who represents the neighborhood around the arena, and others in the D.C. government have been negotiating with Monumental for months about a deal for financing arena renovations, she said Wednesday. 'I have been taking this threat seriously for months, if not years,' she told DCist/WAMU... Mendelson and Pinto said they’re still holding out hope that D.C. can keep the teams. They noted that the final deal in Virginia will still require approval by the Virginia General Assembly and the Alexandria City Council. 'It is an unsure thing. Virginia has a Republican governor, a Democratic General Assembly. There are next steps to this process,' Pinto said.
Washington Informer: Bowser, Council Chairman Fight to Keep Wizards, Capitals in D.C. “’Rooting for our hometown team unites residents across the District with pride and is a galvanizing force for economic development,' Pinto said. 'The arena is a pillar of downtown D.C. and a key component of our strategy to strengthen the future of downtown and the District. It’s imperative that our D.C. teams stay right here at home in Washington, D.C. We will keep fighting.'”
Watch: WJLA: DC Council sounds alarm as schools continue to see spike in chronic absenteeism. “The Council’s Committee of the Whole took up the post-COVID problem and though numbers are slightly better than 2022, they are still high. The discussion comes after a report showed 40% of D.C. students missed 10% or more school days. ‘“It requires that we are all on the same page that school is not optional,' said Councilmember Brooke Pinto.”
Washington Post: Facing contempt threat, D.C. finds more housing for youth detainees. “Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2), chairwoman of the judiciary committee, said in a statement that she hoped Bowser’s emergency declaration would help ensure that youth detention facilities have sufficient resources. She also called for lawmakers to explore ways to ‘strengthen interventions and supports for District families and young people in crisis.’”
Washington Post: District triage line continues to trim non-emergency calls from 911. “‘This is a vital investment to support residents’ needs immediately and ease the strain on our ambulance and hospital system,’ Pinto said in a statement.”
WJLA: DC Council approves emergency declarations addressing rising youth violence, drug crisis. “Councilmember Brooke Pinto, who heads public safety, pushed to let Mayor Bowser act as she sees fit. ‘We have to move forward, I believe in a way that allows the executive to move quickly,’ Pinto said.”
DCist: Capital One Arena Forever Changed Chinatown. Can It Reverse Downtown’s Post-Pandemic Slump? “‘I think it’s in the best interest of the District to ensure that they can stay and continue contributing to our culture here and to our tax base,’ Pinto says. ‘My expectation is that we will all be able to work together to forge a deal and a path forward.’”
The Wash: Crime is rising in Georgetown and civic groups want the District to act.“‘My comprehensive package of legislative initiatives is a compilation of common-sense, targeted interventions that will urgently and practically improve safety for DC residents,’ Pinto said in a press release.”
WUSA9: US Attorney for DC: Gun prosecution laws fall short, put gun offenders back on the street. “‘What we’ve proposed in the Secure DC Plan will help us,’ Pinto said. ‘Will help us prove carjacking cases, will help us track GPS monitoring, will help us ensure that endangerment with a firearm and shooting into the public will be treated with the severity it deserves.’”
DC News Now: DC Council pitches more crime-fighting proposals. “‘Businesses of all sizes across the District have experienced concerns regarding the impact of crime and violence on the health and safety of their employees and their ability to successfully operate their businesses,’ Pinto said. ‘By strengthening the security of our commercial areas, we foster an environment where businesses can thrive.’”
Team Pinto is going on neighborhood walks with each of our amazing Ward 2 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners! This week, we are highlighting ANC 2G05 Commissioner Sheena Berry. Brian and Aukima from Team Pinto met with Commissioner Berry to walk ANC 2G05 in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. Some of the topics they discussed included Kennedy Recreation Center renovations and access to public space, supporting youth in Shaw, and making sure residents receive communication in multiple forms. If you live in ANC 2G05, you can reach Commissioner Berry at 2G05@anc.dc.gov.
Did you know? ANC 2G05 is home to Allen Y. Lew Place in honor of former City Administrator Allen Lew and his service to the district.
The My School DC lottery application for the 2024-25 school year is open. The lottery closes on February 1 for Grades 9-12 and March 1 for PK3-Grade 8. Learn if your families need to submit a lottery application? here.?The lottery is?not?first come, first served. This means that applicants have until the application deadline to apply and make any edits to their application.
DCSBOE and OSSE want your feedback on DC School Report Cards. Submit feedback through their survey by January 10.
Small businesses can enroll in DC Health Link’s Open Enrollment for health insurance from November 1 to January 31. Learn more about Open Enrollment on DC Health Link’s website and enroll in Small Business Health Insurance here. Access information about open enrollment for all residents via the DC Health Link’s slide deck.
DPW will be collecting household hazardous waste, unwanted electronic equipment, and documents to be shredded on one Thursday (10am-2pm) and one Saturday (7am-2pm) each month at RFK Stadium Lot 3 through March 2024. The Special Waste Collection event may be delayed or canceled due to inclement weather. Please check DPW social media (Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) for the most up-to-date information and accepted items. For more information about what items are accepted or prohibited at these special waste collection events, please review this page.
As Federal Student Loan repayments are set to resume, the Office of the Attorney General put out a Consumer Alert that includes recommendations and suggestions for federal student loan borrowers. Check out the consumer alert to see how you can prepare for repayments to resume and other resources.
WMATA launched Metro Lift, an income-qualified fare program, that provides a 50% discount on Metrorail and Metrobus fares. The discount will reduce the cost of a bus trip to just $1 and rail fare to as little as $1 and no more than $3 depending on how far you travel. Customers who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Maryland, Virginia, and DC qualify for Metro Lift and can enroll at wmata.com/MetroLift. Customers may make appointments online or by calling 1-888-762-7874.
Red Line service will be unavailable at Farragut North, Metro Center, and Gallery Place stations with free shuttle buses replacing trains from December 18 through Saturday, December 30 in order for WMATA to perform critical safety repairs. While the Red Line is closed, service will continue to be available on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines on the lower level at Metro Center and Green and Yellow line service on the lower level at Gallery Place. In addition, Judiciary Square Station will be closed from Friday, December 22, through Sunday, December 24. Sign up for MetroAlerts here.
The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (Commission) is distributing free weatherization tools to District residents as part of the Commission’s annual Winter Ready DC campaign from Wednesday, December 6 through Saturday, January 14. The first event will be held on Wednesday, December 6 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Benning/Dorothy I. Height Library (3935 Benning Road NW). To learn more about participating library locations and dates, visit this page.