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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Councilmember Henderson Visits

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 8F met on May 14. Commissioners Nic Wilson (8F01, treasurer), Rick Murphree (8F02, vice chair), Brian Strege (8F03, secretary), Edward Daniels (8F04, chair) and Clayton Rosenberg (8F05) were in attendance.


Briefing by Councilmember Henderson

At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson (I) briefed the commission on the DC Council’s FY25 budget discussions. Henderson, chair of the Committee on Health, detailed recent legislative achievements.

In January 2025, infertility treatment will be covered by health insurance for the first time, Henderson stated. The DC Council has increased resources to DC Healthcare Alliance and Medicaid to provide their members parity in securing surgical approvals. It has allocated additional funds to DC’s Produce Plus to give SNAP recipients online grocery delivery options, she continued. The council made targeted investments in maternal health. Henderson’s committee is also involved in discussions to employ DC’s portion of the national opioid legal settlement proceeds to deal with fentanyl addiction, she said.

Murphree asked Henderson her views on ranked choice voting. The councilmember has been a proponent, introducing legislation to introduce the practice. However, due to the current voter initiative, Henderson has backed off her efforts.

Murphree then turned his attention to transportation since Henderson serves on the council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. The Traffic Operation and Parking Plan of DC’s Department of Transportation (DDOT), which governs transportation issues on game days at the stadia, “is a copy and paste every year,” Murphree complained. Moreover, the plan “is focused on making visitors’ transportation easier, not residents’, he contended. He asked Henderson to raise the issue at the committee level. He requested Henderson’s assistance in making Vann and Half streets SE one-way thoroughfares.

Henderson should examine DDOT’s provisioning of protected bike lanes (PBLs) and priority bus lanes, Daniels stated. These lanes cut off curb access for delivery vehicles, which has created chaos in the Navy Yard, he said. DDOT has not listened to residential concerns about this issue. Henderson needs to be a fresh set of eyes, he argued.

Strege asked Henderson for her view of the recently proposed Initiative Amendment Act. Henderson opposes the measure, promising to move an amendment to strip any such language from the FY25 Budget Support Act if necessary. This act needs to go through regular order, since it changes the rights of the electorate, she stated.

Murphree queried Henderson on her views of crime and public safety. Henderson laid the problem of accountability at the feet of federal prosecutors and judges, responsible for charging and adjudicating adults under the District’s unique federalized criminal justice system. There is no accountability for the federal elements of the city’s justice system, she stated.

Strege raised the issue that the old ANC 6D kept all its funds. How should new ANCs be funded? Murphree requested Henderson’s aid in securing government space for an ANC 8F office, complaining about the current cost of renting space at a local co-working location. Strege added an observation about the difficulties that new ANCs face when the commissions whence they are spun off retain existing funds.

Murphree asked  if the council has discussed reestablishing a standalone Education Committee. “That debate is coming,” said Henderson.


Other Matters

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Lieutenant Kenneth Taylor briefed the commission on public safety. Crime is generally down, particularly violent crime, Taylor stated. Homicides for the First District have dropped 50%, he said. The only uptick has been theft from autos. Criminals have been targeting cars in parking garages, he warned.

Staff member Noah Glasgow gave an update on the range of constituent services offered by the office of Congressmember Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D).

US Representative Dr. Oye Owolewa outlined the activities of his office, which serves as an advocate for DC statehood.

The DC Housing Authority (DCHA) has agreed to clean the fenced lot on Square 739, said Strege. Strege and Daniels had met with DCHA. The BID is working with them to figure out alternative temporary uses for the parcel, he added. The commission resolved to resubmit an earlier resolution from ANC 6D to the Zoning Commission, opposing any extensions for development of four the remaining DCHA parcels in the Navy Yard.

The commission voted to:

  • protest the renewal of Harry’s license on the grounds of peace, order and quiet, specifically objecting to its delivery vehicles continually blocking the intersection at New Jersey Avenue and I Street instead of using the provisioned loading zone;
  • approve its Q2 financial statement;
  • request extra funds from the DC Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (OANC) for provisioning a camera for hybrid meetings.

ANC 8F’ s next meeting is scheduled for June 18 at DDOT headquarters, 250 M St. SE, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.anc8f.org.

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