This month, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority closed down the Metrorail system to complete a comprehensive inspection of the system’s 600 jumper cables and connector boots. A fire started by one of these jumper cables caused the tragic deaths at the L’Enfant Plaza Station last year.
Many kudos to WAMTA’s new General Manager Paul Wiedefeld for his decision to cease operations on a system that could at any moment have caused another fatality. Special thanks to him for listening and engaging the transit workers that operate the system every day. And finally, my appreciation to Amalgamated Transit Workers Local 869 President Jackie Jetter from her support for WAMTA’s focus on safety and her tireless advocacy for the union’s members.
While the 24 hour closing of the system may have been frustrating and inconvenient to District residents and many others across the region, it proved to be the best decision. The WAMTA Board of Directors, chaired by my colleague Councilmember Jack Evans, supported the decision to keep all of us safe.
During the inspection, 26 locations were identified where damaged jumper cables and connector boots needed to be repairing or replacing.
WAMTA provides affordable and reliable transportation throughout our region and is essential to the success of the District’s economy. Improvements in safety, reliability and customer experience at a faster rate are expected throughout the region.
I call on my colleagues in the DC government, the federal government and our regional partners to continue to invest in WAMTA, its leadership, employees and unionized workforce.
Rental Housing Late Fee Fairness Amendment Act of 2016
The bill limits the amount of late fees a landlord may charge a tenant for unpaid rent. It defines the term “late payment” to mean rent that is unpaid within 10 days of the due date; caps late fees to 5% of the unpaid amount of rent; requires that the late fee be charged only once and correlate to the unpaid amount of rent; and prohibits landlords from assessing late fees unless a written agreement between the landlord and tenant provides for the imposition of late fees. Finally, it provides for the imposition of a civil fine if its provisions are violated, and up to three times of the excess late fee collected to be transmitted to the tenant from the landlord.
Property Rehabilitation for Affordable Housing Act of 2016
The bill establishes a program to transform vacant and blighted buildings into affordable housing buildings by offering these buildings to District residents and non-profits through a government assisted tax sale process at a subsidized rate in exchange for the rehabilitation of the building and a 50-year affordability covenant. The purchaser must agree to keep all property costs at or below 35% of a buyer or renter’s monthly income that is between 50%-80% of the AMI. The purchaser may only sell the property at a price that generates a maximum profit of 25% of the cost of construction.
Task Force to End Street Harassment Establishment Act of 2016
The bill establishes a task force in the Office of Human Rights to evaluate and develop recommendations regarding street harassment in the District. It includes provisions that specify the composition of the Task Force, and requires the task force to report its findings to the Council within one year of the bills enactment.
False Claims Amendment Act of 2016
The bill prohibits the District from beginning a false claims action related to taxation, unless the net income or sales of the person against whom a false claims action is brought totals $1million or more and the damages total $350,000 or more.
Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016
The bill helps the District expand its clean energy consumption by allowing waste heat from the sewage system to qualify as a Tier 1 renewable energy source, raising the renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2032, increasing the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund fee and establishing a program within the Department of Energy and the Environment for to install solar systems on houses owned by low-income homeowners.
High School Commencement Participation Act of 2016
The bill requires educational institutions to pay for the graduation caps, gowns, and tassels of all high school students participating in a graduation ceremony who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
Relocation Expenses Recoupment and Lien Authority Amendment Act of 2016
This bill establishes collection authority for the District Government to recoup the cost of emergency housing assistance provided to tenants who have been displaced from their homes due to circumstances beyond their control, where the housing provider has failed to satisfy his or her obligations with respect to maintenance of the rental accommodation, and to impose a lien to collect unpaid amounts.
School Based Behavioral Health Improvement Act of 2016
The bill establishes a pilot program in school years 2017 and 2018 for students in eligible District of Columbia Public Schools to alight the District with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Accountable Health Community Model.
CNHED’s Housing for All Rally
Councilmember Bonds was proud to participate in the Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development’s Housing for All Rally.
Supporters at the rally advocated for the DC Government to invest in the programs that make a full continuum of housing affordable for our residents. These programs include the Housing Production Trust Fund, the Home Purchase Assistance Program, the Local Rent Supplement Program, and the Permanent Supportive Housing Program.
Click here to learn more about the campaign.
Celebrating National School Breakfast Week
Councilmember Bonds stood with her colleagues in support of National School Breakfast week.
Without the School Breakfast Program, many children would not otherwise have a nutritious breakfast every morning. Eating breakfast helps students to achieve higher test scores, have fewer absences, eat a more nutritious diet, improved classroom behavior and visit the nurse less.
Click here to learn more about how you can advocate for healthy school lunches.
Supporting the great work of the Greater Washington Urban League
Councilmember Bonds participated in the 44th Annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Memorial Gala for the Greater Washington Urban League.
The Gala raised funds for the Urban League’s operations and programming including their important work to help District residents achieve the American Dream and become home owners.
Click here to learn more about the Greater Washington Urban League’s programming.
Honoring Longtime Champions for Working Families
Councilmember Bonds was proud to help honor the lifetime of achievements of retiring Metro Washington Labor Council, AFL-CIO leaders Jos Williams and Fred Allen at the annual Evening with Labor Dinner.
Both Jos and Fred have been at the forefront of the major battles to achieve greater protections and rights for DC working families over the last couple of decades. Their service will most certainly be missed.
Nuestra oficina está aquí para ayudar a los que hablan español en el Distrito
Me gustaría saludar a todos los residentes de Washington DC. El propósito de este boletín es proporcionar información, inspirar a la participación, y que las cosas funcionen mejor en esta gran ciudad. Como siempre, mi puerta está abierta para usted y doy la bienvenida a sus pensamientos y comentarios en cualquier idea actual que puede presentarse ante el Consejo. Por favor no dude en llamar a nuestra oficina para obtener información o acerca de un problema que usted pueda tener. Es por eso que estamos aquí, para servir a ustedes, nuestros residentes de Washington DC.
New Community Cornerstone Awards Recipients
Congratulations to Loretta Carter Hanes, Paul Ruppert, Patsy Mose Fletcher and Chris Smith for receiving a Community Cornerstone Award.
Click here to learn more about the latest recipients.
Do you know an unsung hero in the community? We need your help to identify and honor outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations making a significant impact on citizens of the District of Columbia.
Click here to make a nomination today.