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Brooke's Briefing: Standing Against Hate, Celebrating DC Veterans, and Important Legislative News

Posted by
Emmanuel Brantley
on
November 12, 2020


Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Ward 2

Opening Remarks

Dear Neighbor,

I began this week feeling re-energized with gratitude and optimism, knowing that you have entrusted me with the opportunity to continue serving as your Ward 2 Councilmember in the upcoming term. Today, I want to reassure you that I remain steadfast in my commitment to make Ward 2 an even better place to live, learn, work, and visit. And I ask that you too stay engaged and continue on this journey with me.

From helping revive our local economy during the current health pandemic, helping our students and families navigate distance learning, standing with our unemployed and undocumented workers, and supporting efforts for criminal justice reform, we have accomplished a great deal in my first four months in office. We will continue to build momentum and expand on the work that has been done. It is important that community voices are heard and that those ideas are incorporated into our progress. As the Council undertakes its review of the Comprehensive Plan which will affect our city’s development over the next 20 years, I want to make sure I hear from residents and I’ll be holding a Ward 2 meeting on the Comprehensive Plan next week. There are additional details below.

I would like to once again thank everyone who made their voices heard during last week’s elections. Emotions were particularly high as we awaited news regarding our national elections, but we all remained positive. I am proud of the strength and resolve that we showed in such a moment.

On this note, I would like to take a moment to address recent hate crime assault on a shop owner in Dupont Circle. There is absolutely no place for hate crimes in Ward 2, and they will not be tolerated in the District of Columbia. I have spoken with MPD about identifying the suspect involved, and later this month, we will move hate crimes legislation through the Judiciary Committee that will help deter hate crimes. Everyone deserves to feel welcomed and respected in our ward and city. Please remember that your words and actions matter, and they should be used to uplift those around us.

Lastly, I would like to add that my official website, www.brookepintodc.com has launched! We are very excited about our new website! Not only because you can find the latest legislative and community updates from our office there, but because it is also equipped with a Constituent Services Request Form that you can use to request assistance for any matter. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need us.

Yours in Service,

Brooke

Pinto in the Press

Councilmember Pinto Speaks Out Against Hate Crimes: This week, Councilmember Pinto spoke with news outlet Local DVM about the recent assault on the owner of the Valley Brook Tea Shop in Dupont Circle. During the conversation, the Councilmember condemned the attack and spoke about the importance of our community “speaking up and being on the same page”. To see the interview, click here.

In a separate statement to WUSA9, Councilmember Pinto wrote, “We cannot sit idly by and let these attacks become even more commonplace or sustain a culture in which individuals [can] assault someone on account of their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or other identity."

Later this month, on November 23, the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety should markup legislation that will grant the Office of the Attorney General the authority to “prosecute hate crimes and close legal loopholes often used to circumvent justice.”  

In the Community

Celebrating Our Veterans: Veteran’s Day was this week, and Councilmember Pinto would like to express her gratitude to the more than 30,000 men and women in the District of Columbia who have served in our nation’s Armed Forces. If you are a veteran looking for resources in Washington, D.C. the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs is available to provide assistance https://communityaffairs.dc.gov/mova.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission Meetings: Throughout the month of November, Councilmember Pinto will join the ANCs throughout Ward 2 to discuss the latest legislative action at the Council, identify opportunities for community engagement, and hear resident concerns. Councilmember Pinto would like to thank the members of ANC2B and ANC 2C for welcoming her this past week and looks forward to meeting with the rest of our neighbors in Ward 2 later this month.

Women Empowerment: This week, Councilmember joined two groups - the DC Democratic Women's Club and DC Women in Politics - for candid discussions on what it means to be a woman in today's political landscape and the art of connecting with residents and voters. Councilmember Pinto was also able to hear from members of both groups about their concerns and discuss her legislative accomplishments. "Women should be encouraged to pursue public service and leadership roles throughout our community. I'm so proud to serve as the first woman elected to represent Ward 2, and I look forward to advancing the issues that matter most to women across the city and bringing other women with me along in this journey," said Councilmember Pinto.

Legislative Update

Councilmember Pinto Announces Ward 2 Comp Plan Roundtable Next Thursday, November 19: Councilmember Pinto will hold a roundtable to discuss the Comprehensive Plan with community members from the Ward 2 community. Over the last two days, the Council has heard from community members on the Comprehensive Plan which will guide future development across the city and includes provisions for public education, transportation and environmental regulations, land use, affordable housing development, and racial equity. Councilmember Pinto wants to make sure that Ward 2 voices are heard during this process and will be hosting an additional listening session on Thursday, November 19th at 7 p.m. specifically for Ward 2 residents. The format for the listening session will be similar to a Council hearing in order to allow as many neighbors to be heard.

If you wish to attend, please complete the survey at https://tinyurl.com/Ward2CompPlan. The survey also includes an option to sign-up to testify to share your views. Because of the significant interest in the Comprehensive Plan, testimony will be limited to two minutes per person so that as many residents have an opportunity to be heard. To read more from the Office on Planning regarding the Comp Plan, please click here.

If you did not sign up to testify at the Council hearing, but would like to submit a written testimony to be added to the public record, please email it to cow@dccouncil.us by the close of business on Thursday, December 3, 2020.  

Bills Heading Before the Full Council for a First Vote: Many of you may already know that this week at the Council has been extremely busy. There have been mark-ups to move critical bills out of the Committees on Transportation and the Environment, Facilities and Procurement, and the Judiciary and Public Safety, and before the full Council body for a first vote. Public hearings on critical housing bills and the District’s Comprehensive Plan were also held this week. Bills moved out of Committee this week include:

  • B23-0054, the “Opioid Overdose Treatment and Prevention Omnibus Amendment Act of 2020", requires members of the Metropolitan Police Department to carry and administer naloxone (which can be used to reverse an overdose) and provides limited immunity and some legal protections for innocent bystanders or other “Good Samaritans. This legislation will help to remove the stigma around opioid use, allowing users to seek help without fear of retribution.

Announcements

DMV Black Restaurant Week - Closing Weekend: Since its inception in 2018, DMV Black Restaurant Week has served hundreds of black owned restaurants in the Washington DC metro area. This impact was made possible by the 180 volunteers who responded to an article in the Washington City Paper in August 2018.

Businesses served have increased their visibility to customers and gained access to capital - two critical pieces holding back their growth and longevity. If you don't see your favorite black-owned restaurant on the participants list, send them the following link to REGISTER: https://www.dmvbrw.com/dmvbrw-vendor-registration.

DMV Black Restaurant Week ends this Sunday, November 15.

Ward 2 Leaf Pickup Schedule: The District Department of Public Works has announced that the vacuum leaf program will resume on Monday, November 9, 2020. Paper bags are NO LONGER REQUIRED, but residents are asked to rake their leaves, for collection, to the curb or into the tree box at the front of the residence. Residents are also asked to keep vehicles away from the curb lanes on scheduled collection days. Click here to review the collection schedule in your area.

Washington Gas Announces Assistance Program: As part of an ongoing commitment to help customers experiencing financial challenges in paying their gas bills, Washington Gas has introduced the Washington Gas Cares Program to connect customers with energy assistance plans and a variety of self-service flexible payment options to support them in their time of need.

Washington Gas encourages customers with a past due balance on their account to engage with the Washington Gas Cares program by visiting www.washingtongascares.com. Washington Gas, which serves 1.2 million customers across Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, can work with customers to establish a convenient payment arrangement based on their individual circumstances using various effective plans and programs. To see the full announcement, click here.

Open Enrollment is Here: Open Enrollment is here! Individuals and families can now renew or enroll in affordable, quality health insurance coverage RIGHT NOW! If you would like for your insurance coverage to be effective January 1, 2021, you will need to enroll by December 15, 2020. Open enrollment ends January 31, 2020. For more information, visit http://DCHealthLink.com.

Zoo Lights 2020 to Go Mobile, National Christmas Tree Lighting to Go Virtual: Due to the current public health pandemic, many holiday festivities will take go online, or on wheels, this year.

According to the Smithsonian, the “24-foot ZooLights Express truck will hit the road, festively decorated with light displays and featuring ‘Panda Claws,’ and visit one Washington, D.C. ward each Friday and Saturday night from 6-8 p.m.” ZooLights Express is scheduled to appear in Ward 2 on Saturday, November 28. For more info on ZooLights, visit https://nationalzoo.si.edu/events/zoolights.

On Thursday, December 3, the 98th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting will also go virtual. All are invited to watch the lighting and the live performances at https://thenationaltree.org/.

For more information on holiday schedule adjustments, read this article by WAMU.

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