Michigan Park Citizens Association
2 April 2019
Turkey Thicket Recreational Center
The meeting began at 6:30 with the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Ralph Bucksell received an email this afternoon from the Mayor’s office asking that her representative from Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) be given time to address the group. President Bucksell handed out the minutes from March for review. Accepted.
Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report into the minutes.
Representative from Councilmember McDuffie, Ogo, addressed the group. She related various events and a flyer was handed out on proposed racial equity legislation. The legislation is intended to encourage district agencies to create tools to evaluate race equity among the District workforce. The city’s budget process has begun for the coming fiscal year (1 October through 30 September).
Mr. Bucksell noted that use of marijuana is adversely impacting hiring among district residents. Although legal to use under District of Columbia law, some employers, including some DC government agencies, prohibit their employees from using marijuana. Likewise, most stores and construction businesses note that they require job applicants to be tested for marijuana use.
Mr. Ely S. Ross, Chief of Staff, DPR, arrived and addressed the group. DPR budget hearing is this Friday, 10 am at the Wilson Building. DPR is visiting all neighborhood associations to address neighbors. DPR’s budget is increasing by 2-3% to address parks in grants. A new cultural arts department is to be established within DPR.
Mr. Ross offered himself as the new city contact for installation of a water facet in one of our local parks, a long-standing goal of the Association. Mr. Ross also addressed the new Roving Leader program to assist leaders. He noted the Mayor’s new initiative and office called, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE).
Mr. Bucksell noted the positive changes in the behavior of students at the Brookland Middle School under new Principal, Mr. Kerry Richardson, Jr.
New deputy chief of staff, Tomas Talamante, for the Mayor’s key investments introduced himself. The Mayor’s priority is foremost to enable families to stay in the City through affordable housing. Thirty-five million has been provided to a housing trust fund. An additional 20 million to the workforce housing fund for those public servants looking for affordable housing.
Mr. Bucksell raised the issue of increased business taxes negatively impacting the success of local businesses. These businesses are just as valuable fixtures in our neighborhood as long term residents (retirees, and minorities). The huge jump in taxes on businesses is causing them to consider going out of business. The city must also be concerned about retaining these business as they are with our residents. Members noted their concern about the danger of loosing these local businesses. We want the heavy businesses taxes to stop. Mr. Bucksell also asked whether the city’s budget is balanced, without dipping into our rainy day accounts. Like all of us, the city must live within its means but also must not run out people and businesses who have made this city what it is today.
Ms. Joan Thiel agreed to head the election committee for the Association. Mr. Bucksell noted that Providence Hospital will officially close 30 April. He offered members until that time to submit suggestions for the Associations letter for what has been termed a health care village.
The annual Spring cleanup of the triangle park (12th/Michigan/Shepherd) is Saturday, 13 April 2019, 9am-12noon. The city will deliver a pick-up truck filled with compost.