Reminder: Complete UDC’s Bertie Backus Campus Plan Survey Soon

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is planning the renovation and expansion of the Bertie Backus campus, located at 5171 South Dakota Avenue NE. The University is required to submit a Campus Master Plan to the DC Zoning Commission.

Please complete UDC’s survey here by December 9, 2022, to share your ideas about the Backus campus and its development over the next 10 years. December 9 is the deadline UDC shared with me, but it is not listed on the survey so I do not know if that is a hard deadline. Take a few minutes to share your thoughts about the physical campus and campus programming.

UDC has also updated its Campus Plan website at with a little bit of information about the Bertie Backus Campus Plan process.

For more context on this process, see this post: UDC Bertie Backus Campus Plan Underway.

Please share with neighbors.

December 5: LRCA Public Meeting (Virtual)

Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association Public Meeting
December 5, 2022
7:00 pm

December 2022 Meeting Agenda

  1. Welcome/Invocation
  2. Officers Report, Minutes, Treasurer Report, Budget Review/Approval
  3. Updates from Elected Officials & PSA
  4. Speakers:
    • Travoris Culpepper, Manager, PEPCO – Completion of Capital Grid Project in Neighborhood
    • Vicki Caudullo, Transportation Planner, DDOT – MBT Trailhead
  5. Community Concerns/Closing

To view the meeting online, click the following link:

Meeting ID: 898 3107 4297

Passcode: 5858272

You may dial-in by phone using the following number:  301-715-8592

Read LRCA’s December 2022 Newsletter.

View map of LRCA’s boundaries

New ANC 5A09 website and outreach survey

ANC 5A09 Commissioner-Elect Zachary Ammerman has published a new website for future ANC 5A09 residents at Effective January 2023, ANC 5A09 will be a new single member district (SMD) within ANC 5A, consisting of a small part of North Michigan Park west of South Dakota Avenue NE, The Modern at Art Place, Aventine at Fort Totten, and points north to Riggs Road NE west of South Dakota Avenue NE.

He is asking future ANC 5A09 constituents to fill out an outreach survey to let him know best ways to reach residents in the SMD. Please fill this out only if you will be a resident in 5A09. To find your SMD effective January 2023, use the 2023 ANC/SMD locator.

Fort Totten Metro Station Faregate Prototypes

Late post

A few months ago, large signs appeared at Fort Totten Metro station alerting riders that Metro would be testing solutions to “fare evasion.” Last week, I did notice the debut of one solution–rounded plexiglass across the top of the faregate to make it harder for people to place their hands on the gates to get leverage to jump over the gates.

This particular design certainly might put a stop to the tiktok videos of riders filming themselves sliding and doing acrobatics across the top of the faregates, but they certainly will not stop people from simply stepping over the faregates (except for people with short legs maybe).

DCist has a picture of the other prototype (described as a “saloon style”) that Metro has installed at Fort Totten, but that is not operational yet. That one might actually prevent people from jumping the faregates, but more than one person at a time could probably walk through the gates with that particular design.

As noted in that article, Metro just recently replaced all of the faregates in the system to accommodate mobile payments. Unclear how much money Metro is now spending to roll out these new prototypes.

Congresswoman Norton NPS Townhall Recap – Fort Totten Park

On November 16, 2022, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton held her quarterly National Park Service (NPS) town hall on zoom. Residents were able to submit questions in advance and also during the meeting. In the past, Congresswoman has published a list of answers from NPS to all of the questions received. I will share that once I receive it.

The major NPS park in Riggs Park is the Fort Circle Park (Fort Totten) that streches from Fort Totten Metro station east to the DC/Maryland line. It is part of the Rock Creek Park system. Julia Washburn, Superintendent for Rock Creek Park, provided answers about Fort Totten during the meeting.

I did not stay for the entire meeting because ANC 5A held its meeting the same evening. Fortunately several residents were able to get in questions about NPS parks in the neighborhood early in the meeting, so I do not think I missed too much.

I asked several questions ahead of time about Fort Totten Park. Answers provided by NPS during the meeting are below.

  • Status of North Michigan Park-Fort Totten station pedestrian trail & keeping project website updated to inform residents of what is happening

NPS apologized for the lengthy delay of the pedestrian trail between Gallatin Street and Galloway Street NE that is supposed to connect North Michigan Park to Fort Totten Metro station. The project was delayed after discovery of an unexploded World War I ordnance. Following soil testing, NPS concluded there were no other hazardous materials. During the town hall, NPS described the shell as a “one-off,” but there were questions about what exactly NPS did to reach that conclusion. (In this post, I previously described what NPS said they sent to the ANC 5A commissioners about the soil testing earlier this year, which NPS forwarded to me after that meeting after I asked. This is the direct link to soil study they sent to me).

In any case, after that discovery and construction resumed, NPS contractors then hit the top of Metro’s green line tunnel. Now the project is still on pause so that Metro and NPS can determine whether the trail can be built and where it is safe to do so, NPS stated during the town hall. (They originally said that redesign would be done in November. After the meeting, I received an email from NPS with more information, which I shared in this post). They hope to issue a contract for redesign of the trail by end of this year or early 2023. If redesign is feasible, that should be completed in mid-2023. From there, they would need to secure funding in order to start construction.

There was a project website: Fort Totten – North Michigan Park Pedestrian Access Improvement Project Environmental Assessment. It has not been updated in a while (though some information has been removed). Hopefully NPS will update this page with this latest information and keep it updated.

  • Trash along Galloway Street near Fort Totten Metro station

NPS acknowledged that trash is a problem along the parkland on Galloway Street leading to Fort Totten Metro station. Ms. Washburn said that NPS mainly relies on volunteers to clean up NPS parks, and she said they are always looking for volunteers to help keep the park clean. I think it would be useful if NPS could work out an agreement with Metro since Metro personnel have an everday presence in the area as opposed to NPS personnel.

  • Setting up 311 type system for tracking issues in park, such as dumping, trash, overgrown vegetation, fallen trees, etc.

In response to my question about whether NPS could set up a system for tracking common requests and providing acountability, Ms. Washburn said that for issues regarding Fort Totten, residents can email NPS through the contact page on the Rock Creek Park website at or call the main number at (202) 895-6000.

  • Status of sidewalk along south side of Galloway Street NE between South Dakota Avenue and 4th Street

NPS did not address the sidwalk along Galloway Street NE while I was still on the meeting, and I do not know if it was answered at all during the meeting. This project requires coordination between NPS and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). It had orginally been delayed because NPS designed a 6-foot path rather than a 10-foot path, so engineers had to redesign the path. DDOT did share the following information in an email to me on September 30, 2022:

We are working on engineering plans now which should be completed by August 2023. Construction would likely start in spring 2024 if there are no snags. Ideally, we want to build a 10 foot wide multi-use trail with a 4 foot wide grass buffer between the street and the path. We are doing a tree survey now to see if we can fit it all in without impacting any protected trees.

  • Using Fort Circle Park for activities like movies in the park and other activities and getting a walking trail around perimeter of the park.

A walking trail and more passive activities are called out in the neighborhood’s area development plan. It is consistent with NPS’s long term vision for Fort Circle Park, which is that the park be used for “passive recreation.” At the town hall, Ms. Washburn stated that NPS is looking to update its long-range plan in 2023-2024 and will seek resident input on what passive recreation at Fort Circle Park could look like.

The official name of the Fort Circle Parks is the Civil War Defenses of Washington. NPS has long stated that because of the historic significance of these parks, they are not like other NPS parks that may have lots of amenties, such as playgrounds, soccer fields, tennis courts, and swimming pools. NPS has long said (at least with respect to Fort Totten) that they want the park to look how it did back during the Civil War. But we know that Fort Dupont Park, for example, does in fact have lots of non-historical amenities in the park. (Not to mention that our own park has a stray baseball net and did in fact have a playground or at least a basketball court at one time). I was told some time in the past couple of years by a park ranger that Fort Dupont has lots of different amenities because residents demanded more activities in the park following the assassination of Martin Luther, Jr. and NPS actually listened.

For what it is worth, NPS is currently undergoing a public process to rehabilitate parkland in Congress Heights. Planning documents are available at I imagine the process for Fort Circle Park could look a lot similar.

NPS did not get to my questions about placing recycling receptacles near the park at South Dakota and Galloway Street NE or putting dog waste bags in the park. There were lots of other questions about the multitude of NPS parks in DC. Hopefully we will get a read out of responses from NPS soon.

Complete UDC’s Bertie Backus Campus Plan Survey by December 9

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is planning the renovation and expansion of the Bertie Backus campus, located at 5171 South Dakota Avenue NE. The University is required to submit a Campus Master Plan to the DC Zoning Commission.

Please complete UDC’s survey here by December 9, 2022, to share your ideas about the Backus campus and its development over the next 10 years.

Please share with neighbors.

(Edited to add: For more context on this process, see my previous post: UDC Bertie Backus Campus Plan Underway).

November 28: ANC 4B Public Meeting

ANC 4B Regular Public Meeting 

Monday, November 28, 2022, 7:00 p.m. 

Virtual Meeting Details: 

For video participation via Zoom on a computer or mobile device, click this link:  

Meeting ID: 874 4223 1046. Passcode: 737103. 

For voice-only participation on a telephone, dial (301) 715-8592.  

Meeting ID: 874 4223 1046. Passcode: 737103. 


1.         Call to Order & Roll Call  

2.         Administrative Items: 

A. Instructions re Participation in Virtual Meeting 

B. Consideration and Approval of November Agenda 

C. Approval of October Regular Public Meeting Minutes 

D. Treasurer’s Report 

E. Approval of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B Annual Report – 2022 

3.         Commissioner Updates (if applicable) 

4.         Community Concerns: *Please use the “Raise Hand” button via Zoom or *9 via telephone to speak during community concerns. The Commission will provide additional details regarding how to present community concerns via the virtual meeting at the start of the meeting.* This is the time for questions or statements from members of the public about issues on the agenda or other areas of concern. Please limit your statement or question to one minute. You may also contact members of the Commission before and after Commission meetings. 

5.         Reports:

A. Christian Starghill, Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (3 minutes)  

B. James Lewis, Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George (3 minutes) 

C. Frazier O’Leary, Ward 4 State Board of Education Representative (3 minutes) 

6.     Presentation: Sarah Hofman-Graham & Rachel Manning, Program Analysts, Office of Waste Diversion, District Department of Public Works, Zero Waste DC Plan Draft Framework (10 minute presentation; 10 minute discussion) 

7.     Presentation: Faye Dastgheib, Legislative & Policy Analyst, District Department of Transportation, Electric Vehicle Curbside Charging Station Program (10 minute presentation; 10 minute discussion)  

8.     Presentation: Michael Alvino & Samer Alhawamdeh, District Department of Transportation, Update re 30% Design of Metropolitan Branch Trail from Blair Road, NW, to Piney Branch Road, NW (10 minute presentation; 10 minute discussion)  

9.     Presentation: Caren Garfield & Alexander Collich, EYA Multifamily, LLC, Update re Proposed Development at the Takoma Metro Station (10 minute presentation; 10 minute discussion) 

10.   Presentation: John Carlos Green, Community Engagement Manager, DC Public Charter School Board, Mission and Work of the Board (10 minute presentation; 10 minute discussion) 

11.   Consent Calendar:  

Resolution 4B-22-1101: Providing Additional Feedback on DPW Zero Waste Plan (Commissioner Palmer)  

Letter: Requesting Coordinated Approach to Community Concerns Along 6200 Block of Eastern Avenue, NE (Commissioner Brooks) 

Resolution 4B-22-1102: Calling for Urgent School Building Repairs at Whittier Elementary School and Legislative Changes to Ensure Timely School Modernizations (Commissioner Jocelynn Johnson and Commissioner Palmer)

12.   Resolution 4B-22-1103: Supporting Renewal of Alcoholic Beverage License for Jackie Lee’s, 116 Kennedy Street, NW (ABRA-105767) (Commissioner Brooks) 

13.   Adjournment 

Next Regular Public Meeting: Monday, January 23, 2023, 7:00 p.m. 

Contact your Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner: ANC 4B01 Evan Yeats (; ANC 4B02 Erin Palmer (; ANC 4B03 Jocelynn Johnson (; ANC 4B04 Brenda Parks (; ANC 4B05 Vacant; ANC 4B06 Tiffani Nichole Johnson (; ANC 4B07 Geoff Bromaghim (; ANC 4B08 Alison Brooks (; ANC 4B09 LaRoya Huff (

Please note the Commission will be transitioning to an email list to notice Commission meetings. Individuals and listserv administrators can sign up here to be included:

Happening Now: Ward 4 Turkey Giveaway at Lamond Recreation Center

Event has ended

From Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George

On Saturday, November 19 from 11am-1pm Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George will be co-hosting a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway for Ward 4 families in need with the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association at Lamond Rec Center (20 Tuckerman St. NE).

Her office will be giving out one turkey per family on a first come, first serve basis.

Please bring proof of Ward 4 residency.

See you there!

McDonald’s Upcoming Rezoning Case: DDOT & Office of Planning Reports Reach Different Conclusions

The Zoning Commission hearing for McDonald’s, located at 4950 South Dakota Avenue NE, is scheduled for November 28, 2022 (Zoning case number 22-19). Recall McDonald’s is requesting a map amendment (rezoning) that would upzone the property to the MU-7B zone solely for the purpose of replacing the existing restaurant with a two-story McDonald’s with a drive-thru as a matter of right. It currently does not have a drive-thru. I have written plenty of treatises about this matter already; I will add links later. See FAQs McDonald’s previously provided about the project.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and DC’s Office of Planning (OP) both submitted reports today, with DDOT objecting to the map amendment request and OP supporting it.

Link: DDOT Report

Link: Office of Planning Report

DDOT writes:

DDOT has reviewed the Applicant’s request and determined that based on the information provided, the Applicant intends to construct a new fast‐food restaurant with a drive‐through, which will be a by‐right use if the rezoning is granted. DDOT discourages construction of drive‐through lanes since they negatively impact pedestrian safety and increase impacts to the transportation network. Therefore, DDOT objects to this Map Amendment application since the Applicant does not intend to increase existing uses or density on the site, and is using the rezoning solely for the purpose of adding a drive‐

Instead, DDOT recommends the Zoning Commission consider a different zone, with similar densities to the MU‐7B, but which does not include a drive‐through by‐right. DDOT is in support of higher densities and mixed‐use potentials of the site to support adjacent Priority Bus Routes and generate foot traffic for nearby businesses.

DDOT goes on to provide traffic analysis and requests, should the property be redeveloped in the future.

Contrary to DDOT, OP uses a lot of pages analyzing this case from a completely fictional standpoint, as if there is a world in which McDonald’s intends to put a mixed-use development on the property or in which McDonald’s ever had that goal in mind when they submitted a proposed Comp Plan amendment to the Office of Planning way back when. OP would probably say that is what they are supposed to do, pretend as if they have a blank slate before them.

But the fact remains McDonald’s stated very clearly when it submitted a proposed amendment to the Comp Plan several years ago that its goal was and always will be trying to put in a drive-thru, something it has been trying to do since at least 1982. That’s it. Nothing about increasing density or seeking any of the other benefits of upzoning.

Unclear why OP completely fails to acknowledge this fact to conclude that the rezoning application “on balance” is not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Actually, it is clear. I would say the Zoning Commission should ask OP to address that question head on, but the Zoning Commission and OP will likely both contend that intended or actual uses do not matter when considering rezoning applications because neither OP nor Zoning want to give an inch in their goal to stem the litigation that had been holding up development projects prior to the Comp Plan update.

I had been waiting to see how DDOT and OP would handle this case in their final reports. I will write more next week, but for now I will just say DDOT got it right and OP got it completely wrong. OP will likely never admit that they should not have supported McDonald’s proposed amendment to the Comp Plan’s Future Land Use Map (FLUM) that paved the way for McDonald’s to submit this application (when OP rejected a similar upzoning amendment proposal from the church next door during the amendment process that would have made it easier for the church to build affordable housing as a matter of right as it has been trying to do for years). And honestly if the concern is about how to drive more traffic to the McDonald’s (no pun intended) so that it is financially viable for them to remain in the neighborhood (which seems to be the driving concern here), then OP and other officials can offer other ways to help McDonald’s do that without supporting McDonald’s desire to put in an actual drive-thru.

It will be interesting to see what the Zoning Commission decides.

Instructions on how residents can testify at the hearing or submit written testimony for the record are in the Hearing Notice.

UDC Bertie Backus Campus Plan Process Underway

Officials from UDC held a community meeting on October 19, 2022 to explain the upcoming Campus Plan process for UDC’s Bertie Backus Campus, which is located in Riggs Park at 5171 South Dakota Avenue NE (between Galloway Street and Hamilton Street NE). UDC presented again at the ANC 5A meeting on November 16, 2022. ANC 5A did not notify residents that UDC would be presenting.

The Backus campus is UDC’s community college campus. It is also home to the university’s Bertie Backus Food Hub. University officials anticipate expanding the Backus campus in the future.

DC zoning regulations require universities to update campus plans every 10 years. According to UDC, the goal of the regulations are to ensure that university campuses “(1) are well-planned and designed; (2)have long-term facilities plans; (3) minimize any negative impacts the university may have on the surrounding residential neighborhood; and (4) are consistent and transparent with their planning processes.”

Link: UDC presentation 10/19/2022

Link: UDC presentation 11/16/2022

The two meeting presentations are largely the same. They outline the role of community stakeholders; UDC’s long-term vision for the Backus campus; planning considerations and priorities; and the campus plan process.

The ANC presentation contains a slide regarding discussion points UDC took away from the October meeting: facility improvements, more green space, traffic, parking lot abundance, infrastructure upgrades. A resident asked about installing solar panels. In my view, the October meeting was pretty unfocused because UDC did not communicate meeting objectives or provide any context about the planning process to residents ahead of time. I for one did not offer specifics. I moreso had questions about the process and suggestions about how UDC could get more meaningful input from residents. I imagine residents will have more to say after taking some time to think about things. To that end, anyone who cares about what happens to this campus should spend a little time thinking about what UDC identified as the role of community stakeholders as well as UDC’s long-term vision for the campus.

UDC’s Vision of the Role of Community Stakeholders

  • Provide insight based on experience and familiarity with the Backus campus and surrounding neighborhood
  • Help the consulting team think about current and future needs
  • Identify ways to improve the Backus campus to better serve the community, the overall mission of the university, and better utilize the campus open sapce and other nearby resources such as Fort Circle Park.

UDC’s Long-term Vision for the Backus Campus

  • Expand on the vision of the Van Ness plan to holistically address the needs and goals of the university across its various campaus
  • Connect the campus to the neighborhood for a stronger institutional presence (e.g., community-based programming)
  • Make the campus more accessible through better wayfinding, circulation, and landscape design and
  • Explore how the campus might be redesigned to have more of a presence on South Dakota Avenue that improves its appearance, the pedestrian experience, and how it can better interact with and respond to the Art Place at Fort Totten development across the street from the campus.

UDC’s Planning Priorities & Considerations

  • Buildings/Facilities
    • Consideration of classroom space; improving the “community feel”
  • Transportation/Circulation
  • Open Space/Urban Design
  • Campus Programming and Use of Space
  • Sustainability
  • Utilities/Infrastructure

UDC’s Next Steps & Milestones:

  • Continue community outreach throughout fall/winter
  • January/February 2023: Submit Notice of Intent to file application
  • March 2023: File Backus Campus Plan with Zoning Commission
  • Summer 2023: Zoning Commission hearing

Residents have asked UDC to set up a webpage with information about the Backus campus plan process. UDC officials stated that should be ready next month in December. UDC also intends to distribute a survey, so keep an eye out for that.

At both the October and November meetings, residents asked UDC how they plan to reach residents who are not connected virtually. Unclear at this point.

Connection with Van Ness (Main Campus) Plan

Until UDC gets a webpage up and running for the Backus Campus Plan, take a look at the page for UDC’s Van Ness Campus Plan, which is the plan for their main campus. The Van Ness plan was approved in 2021. UDC emphasized in both the October and November meetings that one of their goals is to make sure the Backus Campus Plan aligns with the main campus plan.

At the October meeting, I asked for a fact sheet or highlights/summaries of the Van Ness plan that residents can review as we think about the Backus campus. I have not received that yet, but I will keep asking. In the meantime, if you want some reading to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, you can read the entire Van Ness plan or take a look at the Zoning Commission record for that plan process.

UDC Contact

If you have any questions or would like to share any thoughts about the Backus campus, contact Juanita Gray, UDC’s director of community engagement, at

You can also sign up to receive university updates, including updates about the Backus campus plan, at the link.

Update on North Michigan Park-Fort Totten Pedestrian Trail: Confusion Remains

I have a recap of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s quarterly meeting with National Park Service (NPS) that was held on November 16 sitting in my drafts, and I just received an update today from NPS regarding the ill-fated North Michgan Park-Fort Totten pedestrian trail between Gallatin and Galloway Street NE. Recall that the last update they gave residents stated that the redesign would be done in November 2022 (as in this month). Well, we are going to have to wait longer to see if this project will get done.

I cannot say I am surprised, but I remain confused about why there seems to so much confusion between NPS and Metro. I thought it was common knowledge that Metro’s green line tunnel at Fort Totten runs underneath the park between Gallatin and Galloway Street NE east and west of South Dakota Avenue, and I guess I thought NPS and Metro would have figured out how deep the tunnel was before NPS started digging (kind of like “call before you dig”). I guess not.

In the meantime, I do hope NPS and Metro will come to an agreement about keeping the edges of the parkland along Galloway Street clean.

Look for more emails in your inbox imploring residents not to use the “construction zone.” Seriously though, it is getting dark earlier, so be careful.

NPS message below:

Good Day Fort Totten community leaders and residents, please note this latest update on the project to construct a paved trail between Gallatin Street and Galloway Street NE, just east of Fort Totten.

As most are aware, the National Park Service stopped work on this project earlier this year– after uncovering a portion of the Metrorail’s green line tunnel during trail construction.

 After a thorough review and subsequent discussions with engineers and additional engagement with WMATA, the National Park Service has determined that we will need to redesign the trail with a new alignment. It is our intent to issue a contract for this redesign later this year or early 2023. 

If this can be done, we should have design completed in mid-2023. When funding is available, we will proceed with construction, but that may take some time, as we won’t know the costs of construction until we have a design completed.  In the meantime, we will update you on a regular basis as we proceed with the design. 

We ask again for the community’s patience as well as request neighbors/metro riders continue to detour around the trail construction site until the new trail is in place. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at


Kym Elder

Program Manager

Civil War Defenses of Washington

November 19: Ward 4 Turkey Giveaway at Lamond Recreation Center

From Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George

On Saturday, November 19 from 11am-1pm Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George will be co-hosting a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway for Ward 4 families in need with the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association at Lamond Rec Center (20 Tuckerman St. NE).

Her office will be giving out one turkey per family on a first come, first serve basis.

Please bring proof of Ward 4 residency.

See you there!

Mobile Food Market & Coat Drives

Mobile Food Market

Faith United Church of Christ (4900 10th Street NE) is hosting its mobile market with free produce and groceries on November 17, 2022, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Coat Drives

The Modern at Art Place (400 Galloway Street NE) is accepting winter coats from November 7 to December 1, 2022. Drop off in lobby.

Faith United Church of Christ (4900 10th Street NE) is accepting coats and other winter clothing (socks, blankets, thermal underwear, gloves, scarves) 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on November 17, December 15, & December 17, 2022. For information contact (202) 635-7777 or email

Homicide 500 Block Riggs Road NE

According to MPD, on November 11, 2022, twenty-year-old Rashawn Phiffer passsed away after being stabbed near the 500 block of Riggs Road NE. Information about this homicide is scant. If anyone has information about this situation, please contact MPD at 202-727-9099. Anonymous tips can be sent to MPD by texting 50411.

Rest in peace and condolences to this young man’s family.

Mayor Bowser Transition Website

Following her successful re-election for a third term, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has set up a transition website at There you can find members of her transition team and instructions on how to apply for jobs with Mayor Bowser’s administration and District government.

Mayor Bowser’s team is also seeking “transformational” and “big” ideas for the mayor’s third term, with a focus on:

  • Expanding democracy
  • Fighting for the middle class
  • Ending gun violence
  • Reimagining our downtown
  • Getting all students on pathways to success and
  • Positioning DC as a strong, sustainable, and resilient city

Early last year, I shared a news article on social media about the completion of the city’s homeless shelter in Ward 1, which capped a multiyear effort to replace DC General with smaller shelters throughout the city. I wrote then that the the mayor’s first-term plan to open homeless shelters in each ward was truly masterful and that if she had that kind of vision and commitment in addressing so many issues in the District, the city would be well served. The urgency of the plan was of course heightened by the disappearance of eight-year old Relisha Rudd from DC General, which is still disturbing to me to this day.

All that to say, it can be easy to be deeply cynical about politicians and government, but we also have the ability to be courageous and create better functioning, humane communities. And sometimes even “small” things can have great impact.

If you have thoughts, big or small, about how government should better function over the next four years, it is worth sharing them at

There will also be an in-person engagement forum on December 3, 2022, at 10:00 am.