Here’s a problem: cities weren’t designed for seniors.

AGING/CITIES | Fun fact: city planners have traditionally timed crosswalks based on people walking four feet per second. As you can imagine, older people don’t move quite that fast – and that’s a big problem as the Silver Tsunami is rolling in and seniors are staying in cities. The problem is bigger than just crosswalks though (Atlantic, 6/11):

Crosswalks are only one piece of a deep-rooted problem composed of many subtle environmental details most of us never even notice: Is there a park bench to catch your breath? How about a curb cut for your walker? The pace of city living feels entirely different when you need an extra beat to read a road sign, or when you don’t have a license to drive at all.

The picture above is from the intersection of 15th and Massachusetts NW. It might be hard to see, but the walk and stop signs are concurrently lit. Should we cross? Should we wait? Total chaos for people of all ages! Some people were sprinting and others were frozen stiff. I crossed like this.

YOUTH | U.S. News has released new rankings of the 50 healthiest counties for kids, based on factors including poverty, death from injuries, teen births, and more. Montgomery County ranks 9th, Howard ranks 26th, and Fairfax ranks 28th. That’s a pretty solid regional representation considering that there are more than 3,000 countries in the nation. (USNews, 6/11)

Related: Mapping the Well-Being of Children in the District of Columbia (School of Data, 6/11)

EDUCATION
- One of Chancellor Henderson’s current reform tools is “reconstitution” which is not, as you’re probably assuming, knocking down a spectacular Lego kingdom and rebuilding it piece by piece. It is similar though – DCPS can require all of an under-performing school’s staffers to reapply for their jobs, which gives the administrators a chance to weed out bad teachers. (WaPo, 6/11)

- Greater Greater Education is taking a detailed look at each one of Council member David Catania’s seven proposals for education reform. Part one is about school funding and autonomy. (GGE, 6/11)

COMMUNITY | Last week, we shared the sad news that former Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation head Anne Allen had passed away. Her funeral arrangements have been made. A service will be held at Our Lady of Victory Church on MacArthur Boulevard on June 19th. Full details can be found here.

HOUSING | Our region’s housing market just hit a record high. The median price is almost a whopping half-million dollars. (UrbanTurf, 6/11)

GIVING | 42% of Its Donor-Advised Fund Gifts Are Unrestricted, Fidelity Says (Chronicle, 6/10)

LOCAL | If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when a politician takes a bribe, your dreams have come true! The Post has pictures of disgraced former Council member Michael Brown grinning as he accepts a coffee mug (!) full of cash. (WaPo, 6/11)


It was always a fun trivia fact to know that Dr. Seuss’ real name was Theodor Geisel. I did not know, however, that his middle name was actually Seuss! What’s more, I never would have guessed his method for curing writer’s block.

Also, here’s one possible solution to helping seniors keep up with the pace of city life.

Montgomery County schools chief calls for a nationwide focus on implementing the Common Core Standards [News, 2.8.13]

EDUCATION | In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, Montgomery County public schools superintendent Joshua Starr explains the value of the Common Core Standards, and calls for school systems to back off standardized testing and teacher accountability reforms until curricula based on these standards are successfully implemented (WaPo, 2/8):

The Common Core State Standards should be our primary focus. But districts around the country are spending so much time implementing new accountability measures and other supposed reforms that they are not developing the system capacity to change teaching and learning in the classroom in ways that will enable our students to achieve Common Core’s promise. School districts are not investing in new curricula, assessments, professional development or data systems… A moratorium on standardized tests would give our school systems the ability to implement the Common Core with fidelity.

ARTS | The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has issued a call to artists seeking ideas for “a unique landmark that expresses the character, strength and vibrancy of the Parkside-Kenilworth neighborhood.” (ART202, 2/7)

HEALTH | Virginia lawmakers are moving forward with including the state in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, contingent upon reforms to the program. If it ultimately passes, 300,000 Virginians would qualify for Medicaid coverage. (Examiner, 2/8)

HOUSING | The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute points out that Mayor Gray’s one-time commitment of $100 million to affordable housing production isn’t enough to reach his goal of 10,000 units. (DCFPI, 2/6)

GIVING | Because it’s Friday and a slow news day, here’s Stephen Colbert’s take on trendy new bars that donate their proceeds to charity (like D.C.’s Cause PhilanthroPub). (Colbert Report, 2/5) This weekend, remember: friends don’t let friends drink and donate.


Next week an asteroid will be flying past Earth with a margin of error of only 17,200 miles. In the grand scheme of the universe, that seems uncomfortably close to thisSounds like a good reason to head to the bar, have a beer, and donate to a local nonprofit tonight!

-Rebekah

District plans to change school boundaries…Will ‘granny pods’ revolutionize housing trends for seniors?…SIF director stepping down [News, 11.26.12]

EDUCATION
- District Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is working on plans to change the city’s school boundaries – and how students feed in to the schools – for the first time in four decades. The plan faces a lot of opposition from both community leaders and elected officials, and Henderson admits that she has a tough challenge ahead (WaPo, 11/26):

School boundary and feeder pattern changes can be even more challenging than school consolidations…These discussions truly do pit one community against another.

- Following William Hite’s departure, the Prince George’s County Board of Education is working hard to find a permanent replacement who will bring stability to the school system. County Executive Rushern Baker says (WaPo, 11/22):

We are making strides in every other area – public safety, transforming neighborhoods and building a regional health-care facility…We have had progress with our schools, but this is the one area where we need to accelerate the progress.

- UDC requests $4 million to lay off employees (Examiner, 11/22)

AGING | A Fairfax family is testing out a new possibility for aging seniors who don’t want to move into nursing homes – the “granny pod.” The portable cottage – which is officially called MedCottage and is pictured to the right – is a comfortable, medically-equipped living space. It offers seniors private space, but it can be placed on the property of their families. (WaPo, 11/26)

Soon, Adam West will be able to tell Burt Ward, “To the Bat-Granny Pod, Robin!”

VETERANS | Here’s a wonderfully uplifting story about a veteran who, after living under a bridge in Virginia for years, has moved into a home. The Post’s story is a great read with a happy ending – but it also highlights the bureaucratic difficulties that advocates face in trying to help the homeless. (WaPo, 11/22)

HOUSING | Why Fannie Mae is a different company by Fannie Mae chief executive Timothy J. Mayopoulos (WaPo, 11/26)

PEOPLE | The Social Innovation Fund’s director, Idara Nickelson, will be leaving for a new job less than two months into her tenure. She had replaced Paul Carttar when he left in September. (Chronicle, 11/21)

GIVING | Failed presidential candidate and hilariously misinformed provocateur Donald Trump has chosen his newest crusade – attacking highly-paid nonprofit executives. Evidently, he doesn’t understand business theory as well as he claims – which probably makes sense since he’s filed for bankruptcy four times. (Chronicle, 11/26)

Anyhow, this is a good opportunity to remind you all about Dan Pallotta’s work. Here’s a great article he wrote about nonprofit executive pay, and here’s his rallying call for big change in the nonprofit sector. (HBR)

TEEN PREGNANCY | Study: Pregnant teens need better school support (WTOP, 11/22)

MOVIES | Despite the fact that tons of movies are set in D.C., very few are filmed here. The D.C. Council is debating legislation that would increase incentives for filming here. (WAMU, 11/26) I can’t believe this was two years ago…and that this was only five seconds of the final film.


Lots of catch-up reading for you all today. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It seems like lots of folks in the region might actually be heading back from the break today.

Tomorrow, the Daily will have a great guest column from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation’s Daniel Solomon about his experience participating in a voter protection effort in Ohio on election day.

In the meantime, here are five famous stories about science that you’ve all heard…which probably aren’t true!

The “hunkered up” edition [News, 10.31.12]

After days of preparing to hunker down, followed by the actual days of hunkering down, our region can finally hunker up. And hopefully stop using the word “hunker” for a long time. It seems like we were largely (though not completely) spared from the wrath of Frankenstorm, but folks up the coast from us we not so lucky. Here are some potentially useful resources:

- The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has launched a Neighbors in Need relief fund for Hurricane Sandy victims in our region.

- The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Sandy hub.

- From the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a disaster and planning response guide for funders.

- Charities Scramble to Raise Money After Sandy Hits (Chronicle, 10/31)

- How to help after the superstorm (CNN, 10/31)

- How Sandy hits the homeless (Salon, 10/29) “Cities stretch resources, but many people will face the elements without shelter.”

And related items:

- Crazy footage of flooding in NYC – watch until the creepy end.

- Some before-and-after pictures from the storm. Wow. (WaPo, 10/31)

- Finally, there were lots of bogus pictures being sent around during the storm. WTOP looks at the fake ones, but this is the craziest real one that I saw.

GIVING
- Last week, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation held its annual Leadership Luncheon. At the event, the foundation launched a new $6.5 million fundraising effort called The Campaign to Prosperity. To kick off the campaign, the Morris & Gewndolyn Cafritz Foundation made an $800,000 gift. (WBJ, 10/27)

- A new study from Bank of America and Indiana University finds that while “95 percent of the country’s wealthiest households gave to charity last year, the average dollar amount they donated declined by 7 percent.” (Chronicle, 10/29)

JUVENILE JUSTICE | WAMU takes a look at juvenile justice reform in the District by looking at the transformation of the Oak Hill detention facility into the New Beginnings Youth Development Center. (WAMU, 10/29)

HOUSING | Passionate testimony fills 4-hour Housing Task Force hearing (GGW, 10/30)

HALLOWEEN | No Frankenstorm is going to ruin Halloween!

- Don’t lose your head over this costume.

- The greatest music video of all time: John Landis’ 13-minute video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

- If you want a spooky ambiance for your work day, check out Pandora’s Halloween station.

- And, if you need something to watch tonight after the Trick-or-Treaters have gone to sleep, head to Hulu to check out NBC’s re-envisioning of The Munsters - re-titled Mockingbird Lane. I haven’t watched yet, but the reviews were great.


Buried in between the coverage of the storm and the election yesterday was one of the biggest announcements in the history of Hollywood – George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion. Disney now owns Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and special effects pioneer Industrial Lights and Magic (ILM). Even more shockingly, they have announced that a new Star Wars trilogy will be released between 2015 and 2019 – without much creative input from the franchise’s creator!

Budget cuts could cost region more than 160,000 jobs…MoCo considering affordable housing incentives…GGW argues for centrally hired education committee employees [News, 8.16.12]

SEQUESTRATION | A little doom and gloom for your Thursday. Sorry! George Mason’s Stephen Fuller has run numbers to see how the looming federal budget cuts would affect the region (WTOP, 8/16):

“[W]e’re looking at the loss of about 65,000 federal jobs in this region and about 96,000 federal contractor jobs.”

Fuller says it could lead to a “devastating recession” in the area. He says a ripple effect could also result in loss of more jobs outside the federal government.

HOUSING | The Montgomery County Council is taking a new look at a law that would “exempt residential developers from paying development taxes…if at least a quarter of the apartments or houses meet affordable-housing guidelines.” Advocates say it encourages affordable housing construction, while critics say that it would cost too much in lost revenue. (Examiner, 8/16)

EDUCATION
- When Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown resigned from the D.C. Council, his staff members who oversaw the education committee left as well. Greater Greater Washington makes the wise argument that committee staff members should be centrally hired rather than tied to politicians. (GGW, 8/15)

Charter school known for rigor comes to D.C. (WaPo, 8/16)

HEALTH | D.C. submits plan for health-benefits exchange to feds (Wash Times, 8/16)

NONPROFITS | The Chronicle profiles controversial academic Richard Steinberg, who argues in favor of big up-front spending toward long-term growth for nonprofits. Steinberg has an advocate in Dan Pallotta, who spoke at WRAG’s 2009 annual meeting (Chronicle, 8/16):

[Pallotta] argues that nonprofits should operate more like businesses. The public is “illiterate” about the need to invest in fundraising to help an organization grow, he said in an interview, calling Mr. Steinberg “the hero of an unsexy cause.”

BUDGETS | Virginia state employees are getting bonuses after the state ended its fiscal year with a $448.5 million surplus. (WaPo, 8/16)

JOBS | Looking for a new job? Need to get the word out about a job opening? Check out WRAG’s Job Board for positions in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. The board is full of neat opportunities.

You can post an announcement for $60/60 days – and WRAG members can post for free (email Christian).

LOCAL | The release of the audit of Mayor Gray’s 2010 campaign has been delayed indefinitely. (Examiner, 8/16)

Conveniently related: Watchdogs: D.C. Area Governments Need Work On Transparency (WAMU, 8/15)

SHARKS! | So we’ve had sharks in the Potomac on rare occasions, but WTOP felt like it would be a good idea to terrify us by confirming that the monsters are common to the Chesapeake. They even dropped this gem of a line (WTOP, 8/16):

Given the general prevalence of sharks in the bay, it’s unusual that there has never been a shark attack here or anywhere else in Maryland….

Great. I’m moving to Indiana. Or Liechtenstein.


With the 2012 Summer Olympics finished, we can finally start campaigning to have synchronized swimming banned from the next games. Why? Because of this.

Also, in honor of Shark Week and the beasts who will probably eat me next time I swim in the Chesapeake, here’s one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs – Fins

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow, so I’ll wish you all a great weekend.

Getting ready for school: truancy, librarians, math scores and…gambling. [News, 8.15.12]

EDUCATION | A new report from the District’s Inspector General on the city’s efforts to fight truancy reveals self-defeating tendencies:

D.C. Public Schools sabotaged its efforts to curb truancy by firing attendance counselors and choosing not to track when students were picked up by police…Inspector General Charles Willoughby’s office also said lax policies created inconsistent responses to unexcused absences throughout the system.

Thirty-nine percent of D.C. high schools were chronically truant at last count, meaning they were unexcused and absent for at least 15 days. (Examiner, 8/15)

- According to the Examiner, 57 public schools – including 64 percent of the ones in Ward 5 – won’t have librarians when the school year starts. (Examiner, 8/14) That’s crazy. Good librarians are as important as good teachers. Mrs. McKenna and Brother Marvin made a big difference in my education…even though Brother Marvin gave me detention all the time.

Also, can’t we think outside the box? If funding is the issue, how about setting up a network of volunteers?

- Fairfax County Public Schools will repay the federal government $1 million after an employee lied about having secured matching funds and then forged signatures to try to prove it. This happened twelve years ago, which begs a comment on the bureaucracy of the Justice Department. (Examiner, 8/15)

- Math scores in Northern Virginia dropped considerably last year as the tests got tougher. (WaPo, 8/15)

GAMBLING | The Maryland House (no, not the one on I-95) has given initial approval to gambling expansion in the state. The legalization of table games – and consequential construction of new casinos, including in Prince George’s – could bring as much as $750 million in annual revenue dedicated to education. (Examiner, 8/15)

TRANSIT | Metro is still opening doors. In tunnels. (NBC4, 8/14)

GIVING | Opinion: Pablo Eisenberg considers the Ford Foundation’s recent $500,000 grant to the Washington Post – designated for beefing up coverage on government accountability – and thinks that it “is inappropriate and a waste of money.” (HuffPo, 8/15)

ELECTION | Opinion: Now the Presidential Race Is About Nonprofit Issues (Chronicle, 8/14) The author, Mark Rosenman, labels himself an “activist,” so this is less than an unbiased piece. But he does take a thorough look at how the Ryan Plan would likely affect nonprofits.

One quick tangential thought as we move into full gear toward the election. Tamara and I were talking yesterday about the state of politics, and the art of deceptive campaigning in general. We agreed that it’s important to remember that, despite what 30-second ads want us to believe, political candidates are fighting for the chance to do what they honestly believe is best for the country. We can and should debate policies and outcomes, but it seems disingenuous to accuse either party of simply not caring about – or worse, hating – specific constituencies of people. We should be careful and thoughtful with our political rhetoric.


Greater Greater Washington linked to this great NY Times article from 1964. It offers predictions about the United States in the year 2000, almost all of which were completely wrong. For example, it predicted that we’d have no nurses, waitresses, watch repairmen, or shoes makers, because our entire population would have become white collar and wealthy. Even for 1964, this article is crazy.

Fun note: Two weeks before that article was written, the Beatles made history (surprise) as the first band to take over all of the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Women’s Foundation joins ‘A Partnership for Women’s Prosperity’…MoCo supporting young farmers…Fairfax executive warns of agency cuts [News, 8.7.12]

COMMUNITY | Washington Area Women’s Foundation announced that it has joined five other women’s funds from across the nation for a joint-venture called A Partnership for Women’s Prosperity. The partnership is supported through funding from the Walmart Foundation and designed to allow participants to share best practices, scale up successful models and programs, and find solutions to common problems. (WAWF, 8/7)

ENVIRONMENT/WORKFORCE | Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has announced a new program that will train aspiring farmers and place them on private land to grow crops and livestock. (WaPo, 8/7) And now I have this stuck in my head.

EDUCATION | The Hudson Institute’s Peter Meyer considers a long-running debate: do we have to “cure the poor before we can educate them” or educate them before we can cure poverty? He believes that there is a clear answer. (HuffPo, 8/7)

PHILANTHROPY
- Last week, WRAG partnered with Arabella Advisors for a session on impact investing. Folks from the Consumer Health Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and Living Cities talked about how they are shifting their perspectives to embrace impact investing and maximize change. Rebekah recaps the event here. (WG Daily, 8/7)

- What happens when you mix venture capitalists, funders, and entrepreneurs? The Chronicle writes a story about it! And they also develop interesting ideas. (Chronicle, 8/7)

BUDGETS | Fairfax County Executive Edward Long has issued a memo to county employees telling them to be prepared for agency cuts over the next two years. (WaPo, 8/7)

TRANSIT | MoCo has been awarded $40 million for transportation improvements related to Walter Reed’s move to Bethesda. (WAMU, 8/7) Jet packs, please. Because MD 355 is not getting any wider.

POLITICS | This is borderline gossip, but since it has been confirmed…well, what the heck. Mayor Gray’s chief of staff met with the crisis management expert who advised Monica Lewinsky, Sen. Larry Craig, ineffective quarterback Michael Vick, and even thespian Wesley Snipes. In the spirit of transparency, the Gray administration admits the meeting took place, but that the adviser “has no role in the administration, paid or otherwise.” (HuffPo, 8/7) Let me emphasize, “no role.” They were probably talking about the weather.


I won’t link directly to the video since it contains some profanity, but if you run a Google search for “Irish Olympic commentator,” you’ll find links to a laugh-til-you-cry video. The Irish commentator speaks his mind while watching a sailing race – a sport about which he knows nothing. Again, fair warning, there is some profanity.

In G-rated territory, here’s a spectacular video of the world-record breaking group skydive. Wait until they get into formation and then disperse.

DC Government agencies graded … Virginia dragging its feet on health care exchange … Maryland communities newly eligible for state grants [News, 7.25.12]

GOVERNMENT | Mayor Gray released the first round of reviews from the Grade DC Initiative, where residents can grade the performance of various city agencies. Most agencies fare in the B-to-C range. In a gift to D.C. stand-up comedians, the worst faring agency is the DMV, with a C-minus. (WaPo, 7/24)

HEALTH | Virginia is dragging its feet in adopting a health care exchange, as required by the recently upheld Affordable Care Act. Failure to do so could cause federal officials to create the exchange for Virginia, meaning state officials would have much less say in how the exchange is structured. (Connection Newspapers, 7/24)

TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT | The State of Maryland has recently designated a cluster of inner-beltway communities along the Blue Line as “Sustainable Communities.” This means they will be eligible for state grant funds to make their communities more walkable, transit-friendly, and environmentally friendly. Designated communities include Capitol Heights, Fairmont Heights and Seat Pleasant. Previous recipients of this designation include Hyattsville and Laurel. (Gazette, 7/24)

ARTS & CULTURE | Fiesta DC, D.C.’s annual Hispanic Heritage Festival, will be held on Pennsylvania Avenue this September. D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham says that the festival has outgrown its original Mount Pleasant location, but he and others are concerned about the impact of pulling the festival out of the historic center of D.C.’s Hispanic community. (WaPo, 7/24)

HOUSING | As we shared yesterday, the Arlington County Board approved moving forward with a street car on Columbia Pike at its meeting on Monday night. At the same time, they approved the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan. ARLnow has an in-depth look at the discussion around adopting the plan, especially how they intend to preserve affordable housing in the area.

HIV/AIDS | Thousands of protesters marched to the White House to call for more resources in the HIV/AIDS fight. 13 people were arrested in front of the White House. (Examiner, 7/24)

Related: “The Normal Heart” raises funds for the Washington AIDS Partnership. (Washington Examiner, 7/24)

Also Related: Jennifer Jue, Program Officer with the Washington AIDS Partnership, shares this cool, interactive look at the AIDS quilt, created by Microsoft Research Connections.

EDUCATION| The Fairfax chapter of the NAACP and an advocacy group called Coalition of The Silence have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, a science and technology magnet program, claiming that black and Latino students are being shut out of the prestigious high school because of the county school system’s systemic failure to identify gifted minority students starting in early elementary gifted-education programs. Black and Latino students currently comprise 4% of the student body, despite making up  32% of the county’s student population. (WaPo, 7/23)


I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be a bit unnerved by the extremely sudden and massive melting of Greenland’s ice sheet. When an event is described as a “freak event that surprised scientists,” that’s usually not a good sign. At least we’re having some relatively mild weather here today!

- Robin

Corporate giving up 4% … Maryland has lost more jobs than any other state … Arlington streetcar moving forward [News, 7.24.12]

PHILANTHROPY | In a special report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, giving by major companies nationwide rose by 4% in 2011. However, amid concerns about the economy, most companies are not planning on giving any more in 2012. Among the top ten givers were WRAG members Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup.

ECONOMY | Maryland has lost more jobs in 2012 than any other state in the country. (Washington Times, 7/23)

Related: Virginia job losses from Federal cuts may be worse than predicted. (WBJ, 7/20)

TRANSIT | Very early this morning, (or late last night, depending on how you see things), the Arlington County Board voted to follow the County staff’s recommendation and approve the streetcar as the preferred mode of transit along Columbia Pike. (ArlNow, 7/24) The street car is linked to Arlington’s Columbia Pike Area Neighborhoods Plan, which would seek to redevelop the area while preserving existing affordable housing. As you might recall, the issue of streetcars vs. articulated buses has become an issue of some controversy. And call me a geek, but the story of the original extent of the region’s streetcar network, and how the region lost their streetcars in the first place, is fascinating.

HIV/AIDS | Lots of great coverage of this issue thanks to the International AIDS Conference being in town, but here’s a highlight: “In 2005, 6 percent of all babies in the United States born with HIV were from Washington, D.C. But there’s been some progress; there hasn’t been a baby born with HIV in the District since 2009 because of better screening and medical advances.” (WAMU, 7/23)

EDUCATION | In David Alpert’s continuing series, he asks, “What could DC do to encourage diversity in schools?” (GGW, 7/23)

POLITICS | In a follow-up to yesterday’s story, the D.C. Housing Authority is trying to figure out how the Gray campaign got their hands on public housing lists in the first place. (WaPo, 7/23)


Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. It’s a great embarrassment that it took the U.S. twenty years longer to send a woman into space than it took the U.S.S.R.

She was 32 when she took her first space flight, almost the same age I am now. Watching her and the succession of women who came after her in my childhood, I always thought I would go into space myself. It seems pretty unlikely at this point. But with the mission to Mars seemingly moving forward, maybe my daughter will make it!

On another note, can those who have seen both Avengers and the Batman movie please weigh in on this controversy? I’m sure Christian will have something to say about it when he gets back.

- Robin

Gray’s campaign targeted public housing residents … Arlington approves infrastructure improvements … Congress considers allowing commuter tax [News, 7.23.12]

POLITICS | In the latest revelation from Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 election campaign, it looks like campaign workers used a database of public housing residents to target their get-out-the-vote efforts.  (WaPo, 7/23).  “Housing lawyers consulted by The Post said the use of such a list by a political campaign could violate a variety of laws and regulations, both federal and local, starting with the prohibition against using government resources for political purposes.”

INFRASTRUCTURE | Arlington County okays a $2.45 billion capital improvement plan, as well as a $438 million capital school improvement plan. (Ballston Patch, 7/22)

REGIONALISM | Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) proposes revisiting the idea of allowing D.C. to impose a commuter tax. On one hand, the unique restriction (no other district in the U.S. is barred from imposing such a tax) really hammers D.C.’s tax base. Allowing such a tax would increase D.C.’s ability to fund its infrastructure. On the other hand, governments in Maryland and Virginia are opposed, concerned about the impact this could have on their own tax bases. What do you think? What are the implications for thinking and working more regionally when jurisdictions are fighting over who gets to tax whom? (WaPo, 7/23)

CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES | In the summer, how do kids on free or reduced lunch plans get their lunches? DC Libraries are providing educational programs with free lunch, part of a citywide program to provide free lunches to kids during the summer. (WaPo, 7/23) “The Food Research and Action Center ranks the District as the top jurisdiction in the country for serving summer meals to low income children, with the city reaching 73.5 percent of those eligible for such meals.”

EDUCATION | Here’s David Alpert’s last installment on his series about the DC educational system: Can a diverse and high quality school last? (GGW, 7/19) I went to Montgomery Blair High School (go Blazers!), so I think the answer is yes. But I know that finding ways to truly integrate communities, including in student bodies, can be complicated.

HIV/AIDS | Ahead of the International AIDS Conference, more than 1,000 people marched through downtown D.C. on Sunday.(WaPo, 7/22) You can go here to see more about the conference.  WRAG’s Washington AIDS Partnership will be presenting a session on Wednesday. And tonight Arena Stage will be presenting a special performance of The Normal Heart to benefit the Partnership.

 



As Christian mentioned last week, I am doing the Daily while Christian and Rebekah are away at a conference. To console you, check out this bioengineered jellyfish made out of cells from a rat’s heart!

- Robin

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