The holiday season is finally here! It is likely that you may be preparing to travel, welcome visitors into your home, or reconnect with loved ones. You may also be planning to take advantage of an upcoming outdoor seasonal event. Whatever the case may be, I ask that you continue to prioritize public health and safety. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the District of Columbia is rising, and I am very concerned. Please do not forget to wear your mask, avoid large crowds, stay home if you are not feeling well, and encourage those you know to do the same.
At the Council, we are working very diligently to place the finishing touches on outstanding bills and pass a great deal of legislation by the year’s end and ensure a strong and continued response to the public health crisis.
We recently shared news of the newly launched Bridge Fund within the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. This $100 million investment fund will help a wide range of businesses and workers to navigate this tough climate. There is more on the Bridge Fund in the “Announcements" section of our newsletter.
At the Council, we are also continuing to work with our partners across the government to push for increased testing, accessibility of vaccines, and the safe reopening of our public schools. In addition to this, we are holding fast to our commitment to pass a wide range of legislation that would improve our public health and safety, deter hate crimes, and increase opportunities for environmental sustainability.
I would also like to thank those who attended our Ward 2 roundtable on the Comprehensive Plan yesterday evening. We will be working very hard to ensure that the voices of Ward 2 residents are heard and to incorporate that input into the plan. If you would like to submit written testimony, please see the “Community Update” section below this message to find out how.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge that today is Trans Day of Remembrance, a day that is dedicated to honoring the transgender and non-binary men and women whose lives have been unjustly taken on account of hate. Today is a reminder that we must celebrate and relish in our social diversity and recommit ourselves to the ideas of love and social acceptance for all people. Remembering their names, continuing their legacy, and preserving these important traditions will always be our mission.
Please know that my office is always here for you. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Yours in Service,
Ward 2 Comprehensive Plan Roundtable: On Thursday evening, Councilmember Pinto held a roundtable during which Ward 2 residents shared their thoughts on the District’s “Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2020.” The Comp Plan, as it is called in short, will guide the District’s growth over the next 20 years. The Comp Plan focuses on development in areas such as public education, transportation, land use, economic development, historic preservation, environmental protection, and more. Councilmember Pinto would like to thank those who testified and listened in.
Ward 2 residents who were unable to attend the roundtable or the Council hearings but still wish to submit written testimony may email it to our Legislative and Community Coordinator Ella Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with the subject line “B23-736 Testimony.”
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Meetings: Councilmember Pinto also continued her virtual tour of Ward 2 this week, attending the monthly ANC meetings in ANC 2D on Monday and ANC 2A on Wednesday. During the meetings, Councilmember Pinto shared legislative updates, spoke about the District’s continued COVID relief efforts, and responded to questions from the community. On November 30, the Councilmember will visit with members of the ANC 2E community and on December 2, with ANC 2F. You can learn more about your ANC here.
Update on Montrose Park: Councilmember Pinto would like to congratulate the Friends of Montrose Park and Georgetown Garden Club on their success in getting the front steps at Montrose Park rebuilt and open. Thank you to all of the community partners who helped in completing this project.
A Council-wide Legislative Update: On Tuesday, the Council convened its 39th legislative meeting and worked to pass outstanding legislation that will expire if the bills do not receive a final vote by the end of the current council period this December.
On the agenda were measures pertaining to the reestablishment of the DC Tax Commission, accountability of the Washington Metro Transit Police, energy emissions and waste disposal, public parking, and opioid overdose and treatment. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated on the status of these bills and other important legislation.
To read more about this week’s agenda or see what other bills were discussed on Tuesday, click here. The next legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 1.
The CROWN Act of 2020: This week, the Committee on Government Operations held a public hearing on Bill 23-970, the "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act of 2020." This legislation will amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit discrimination based on hair styles necessitated, or resulting from, the immutable characteristics of a hair texture associated with race, including braids, cornrows, locks, afros, curls, twists, and knots.
In a statement, Councilmember Pinto thanked Councilmember Brandon Todd for holding this public hearing saying, "It's important that everyone can be their authentic selves without concern of losing employment or social acceptance. I'm happy to have co-introduced the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act to prohibit discrimination based on hairstyle."
The District Slow Streets Initiative: Earlier this week, Councilmember Pinto joined the Committee on the Transportation and the Environment for a public roundtable on the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Slow Street Initiative. The purpose of the hearing was to learn about DDOT’s plan to address resident concerns and increase the number of residents who are taking advantage of this effort. “Slow Streets” are designated roadways that are restricted to local traffic only with the speed limit set at 15 miles per hour to support neighborhood-based safe social distancing while walking, running, or cycling. Councilmember Pinto looks forward to working on this issue to bring about great results for District residents.
Note on Slow Streets: One common misconception – the barricades should not be placed in the middle of the roadway. There are now painted white lines to help residents understand where the barricades should be positioned.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development launched the Bridge Fund, a $100 million investment in grants for businesses and workers grappling with the COVID-19 public health emergency in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors. At least $7.5 million is set aside for minority and woman owned businesses.
This summer, Councilmember Pinto joined her colleagues in voting in favor of the “Business Support Grants Emergency Amendment Act of 2020” which created this grant program. To learn more about the $100 million Bridge Fund, visit www.coronavirus.dc.gov/page/recovery-businesses.
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.
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.
New Mobile App for Contact Tracing Available for Android and iPhone Users: DC Health has launched a voluntary app that will notify those who have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. All iPhone users who have completed the latest operating system upgrade do not need to download any applications, however. After completing the update, iPhone users can visit the general settings tab labeled "Exposure Notifications" and set up alerts. All Android users will need to download the DC CAN app and follow the prompts. Everyone is encouraged to use a notification system to aid contract tracing efforts and help to reduce the spread of the virus. For more information on the new mobile app, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/dccan.
DC Shop Small Saturday and Holiday Lights:
November 28, 2020, is Shop Small Saturday! The Shop Small initiative was started to help boost online sales for local businesses that were shuttered by the COVID-19 public health pandemic and will feature sales and promotions by hundreds of local businesses within the District of Columbia. If you are interested in featuring a business on this site, please complete this form here. For more information on Shop Small Saturday and to see participating District businesses, click here.
District Bridges is also bringing back Holiday Lights! This month-long event is for businesses throughout the District to decorate their spaces with holiday lights and share the holiday spirit with residents and tourists from across the city. The Logan Circle and Dupont Circle Main Streets will be participating. There will be prizes for "Most Creative Use of Lights", "Most Colorful Lighting Display", "Best of Show," etc., at the neighborhood level. There will also be a friendly competition for the best neighborhood display! To learn more about Holiday Lights, click here.