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April 25, 2012 / Christian Clansky

Lieberman introduces District budget autonomy bill…Taking a look at food deserts…Should D.C. child welfare budget decrease? [News, 4.25.12]

DISTRICT | Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman has introduced a new bill calling for D.C. budget autonomy. The bill is co-sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and Hawaii Democrat Daniel Akaka. (Roll Call, 4/25) Too bad Lieberman is retiring. Congress needs (a lot) more independent politicians.

FOOD | The New York Times’ David Bornstein examines recent studies that suggest that “food deserts” aren’t as big a problem as some believe them to be. He writes (NYTimes, 4/25):

I’m still convinced that convenient access to fresh food remains a significant barrier for many low-income people around the country, but I have been persuaded that the standard way “food deserts” have been defined may overemphasize — and in some cases mischaracterize — the problem of access and draw attention from other factors that influence what people buy and eat…

Related: A group of local funders has been convening to study philanthropic, policy, and advocacy investments that are advancing an equitable food systems agenda in our region. We’ll post more information in the coming months.

YOUTH | The number of children under the supervision of the District’s child welfare system has dropped nearly 30 percent in the last three years. The D.C. Council is holding a hearing today to discuss whether the system’s declining caseload should lead to a decreased budget. (WaPo, 4/25)

PHILANTHROPY | David and Lucile Packard, Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett, and Gordon and Betty Moore have partnered to launch a new online resource to help train foundation program officers about the rules of lobbying and advocacy. (PND, 4/21) I would include this rule: “When speaking to an elected official, yell really loudly to get your point across, smile genuinely, and then give the official a high-five before leaving.”

BUDGETS
Fairfax County board approves budget that boosts employee pay, social services (WaPo, 4/25)

- Maryland’s budget is still up in the air. (WTOP, 4/25)

EDUCATION
– Right now, D.C. charter schools admit students based on a lottery. Council Chairman Kwame Brown thinks that some charters should favor the admission of neighborhood residents instead. (WaPo, 4/25)

- A new analysis from the Brookings Institution looks at the relationship between housing costs, zoning, and access to high-scoring schools. (Brookings, 4/19)

EQUITY | Explaining The Life Expectancy Gap Between Whites And Blacks (WAMU, 4/25) “Predicting how long you’ll live has less to do with your race and where you live than it does with a set of socioeconomic factors, ranging from martial status to education level.”


Well there isn’t a ton of news today, but we do have two huge days for local sports. Tonight is the epic winner-take-all game seven of the Washington Capitals vs. puny Boston Bruins series. Tomorrow, the Redskins draft a new quarterback. I can’t wait.

But since I know you aren’t all sports fans, check out the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) leading a huge flash mob. And in case you are wondering, of course he gets everyone to do “The Carlton” to Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual.

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