Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

I was just wondering if we could get an update on the recommendations made by the Task Force on Emergency Medical Services developed after Rosenbaum’s death in 2007.


The Mayor seems to be capitulating on actually reforming DC FEMS and looking for quick fixes that pad private sector wallets.”

From the Mayor’s office:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser presented a plan to the DC Council to reform the emergency medical response system. Year after year, the District’s Fire & Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Department has experienced a significant increase in calls and inadequate investment in training and equipment. Annual calls have increased by nearly 28% since August 2011. Increasing call volume – setting a record in each of the last three months – and a lack of sufficient investment in training and equipment over the years is straining response and quality of care.

In order to reform the EMS system, FEMS will overhaul training for emergency medical responders, improve system processes, and enhance communications, which will ensure that the right resources are dispatched on every call. In addition, the Mayor will propose emergency legislation that will enable FEMS to work with third party providers to transport lower acuity patients. The emergency legislation will put more ambulances on the street by authorizing FEMS to contract with third party service providers to transport low-priority calls (e.g. cold symptoms, ankle sprains, and general non acute sick calls).

While emergency medical responders are dutifully serving the District, they have an aging fleet of ambulances that is unreliable. That is why, in Mayor Bowser’s first budget, the Administration invested $8 million to improve the District’s ambulance fleet in the coming year. However, the ambulances FEMS is purchasing, refurbishing and leasing only maintain the status quo as demand rises. In short, current resources are outpaced by the unprecedented demand for ambulance transport.

“My emergency legislation represents a pragmatic solution to a very real and pressing challenge,” said Mayor Bowser. “Once we have these EMS enhancements in place, FEMS can better train our providers, maintain our current fleet, and improve our dispatch and deployment. My team has looked at all the options, and this is the best way to improve quality of care.”

Emergency procurement will be open for 120 days, followed by a long-term competitive bidding process. FEMS will continue to respond to ALL 911 calls – and will determine when to request a third party service provider for transport. If a patient being transported by the service provider deteriorates and becomes a higher priority call, the provider will be required to call 911/FEMS.

“This legislation will help FEMS ramp up our ambulance availability in a short period of time,” said FEMS Chief Gregory Dean. “This will free up our current fleet for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, and will enable FEMS to improve our EMS service delivery overall and to better train our team.”

Third party providers will have to meet high performance requirements, including response times – and will be regulated by the Department of Health, just like all transport companies that currently operate in the District for special events.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Department of Public Works (DC DPW), and Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) today announced plans to begin enforcing a new parking meter violation fine structure. The new fines, approved by the Council of the District of Columbia in July as part of the FY 2016 Budget Support Act, take effect today, October 1, 2015.

The fines affect illegally parked vehicles in commercial and residential areas across the District of Columbia. The following parking meter infractions are subject to the new fines:

· Illegally parked at a meter, meaning not parked within a legal space

· Failure to deposit payment at a meter

· Overtime parking at a meter longer than the posted time limit.

Fines for the above infractions that were previously $25 are now $30.

Vehicles illegally parked in neighborhoods where residential parking permits (RPP) are required will also face higher fines. RPP fines increase from $30 to $35.”

311 trouble

Update from OP: “Thanks for posting the story. Within four hours of the posting, the 311 site was fixed.”

“Dear PoPville-

With the uptick in crime in Columbia Heights, many attributing it to gangs, I’ve been trying to report graffiti on at 1023 Fairmont St., NW to the city though the 311 system. But every time I report it the system keeps failing. I know that the call center wants people to use the online system, but when it fails, there is no recourse other than taking up someone’s time on the phone. Have others found the online system to not let people report issues?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted to report what happened to me this morning after dropping my son off at school, because I’m not sure who you call when 911 doesn’t work. I was waiting to cross Georgia Ave. at Farragut St. NW when a man went sprinting crazily across the busy road, dodging cars and weaving all around. This isn’t completely out of the ordinary for Georgia Ave., so I didn’t think much of it at first.

After I crossed, the man emerged from an alley, followed by a Hummer. The man in the Hummer asked what street we were on because he was on the phone with 911. I told him and kept walking toward my house, watching as the man walking in front of me stumbled along the sidewalk as if he’d been hit over the head and shouted nonsense. I then met the man in the Hummer again (he was following the injured or high man until the police showed up), and he asked me to call 911 as well, because he wasn’t sure the operator had understood him.

I tried to call 911 four times–every time a recording came on telling me to stay on the line, but no one ever picked up. I live in north Petworth and I’ve called 911 numerous times; this has never happened to me before. The man (who was either severely injured or severely high) stumbled out of view. Eventually police officers came and asked where he went, but at this point he had long been out of my sight and I have no idea if they found him or what was wrong with him. I also have no idea why 911 was so busy at 9:30 am that no one could pick up one of my four calls.”

Ed. Note: Office of Unified Communications needs to respond to this situation.


From a press release:

“On Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m. in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D – Ward 5), Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary, will hold a public hearing on rising violent crime in the District of Columbia. The hearing will also consider Bill 21-0261, the “Sale of Synthetic Drugs Amendment Act of 2015”.

To date, 110 homicides have been committed this year in the District, representing a 41 percent increase over last year. “These homicides and other violent crimes have devastated families and communities across the city,” said McDuffie. “The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the steps that the city is taking to prevent and respond to violent crime, to address the underlying causes, and to prioritize community responses to what we must view as a public health crisis.”

Councilmember McDuffie has been discussing holistic strategies to combat crime in the District with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, representatives from federal partners, residents, and national and local organizations. As a result of those discussions and additional research and outreach by his office, McDuffie will be introducing a legislative package in September to offer community- and evidence-based solutions to violent crime.

WHO: Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie
Chairperson, Committee on the Judiciary

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Room 500, Council Chambers”


Thanks to a reader for sending an update to yesterday’s post “Is the Mayor directing police officers to gather signatures for a petition?” – from NBC Washington:

“Seventh District Commander Vendette Parker gave officers in her district, which covers most of Southeast D.C. east of the Anacostia River, a quota to get at least five signed pledges each from residents while on patrol, Assistant Chief Diane Groomes confirmed.”


From DPR:

“Today the Bowser Administration announced that due to the expected high temperatures for the remainder of the week, the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation will keep the District Spray Parks open for an additional week. Spray Parks were scheduled to close today, September 7th at 7:00 PM. According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will bring high temperatures and high humidity.

The following spray parks will extend hours of operation until Sunday, September 13th at 7pm.

Ward 1:
14th & Girard Street Spray Park (14th and Girard St., NW) 1
4th & Park Road Spray Park (14th St. and Park Rd., NW)
Columbia Heights Spray Park (1480 Girard St., NW)
Harrison Spray Park (1330 V St., NW)
Westminster Spray Park (911 Westminster St., NW)

Ward 2:
Stead Rec. Ctr. Spray Park (1625 P St., NW)

Ward 3:
Chevy Chase Rec. Ctr. Spray Park (5500 41st St., NW)
Friendship Spray Park (4500 Van Ness St., NW)
Macomb Spray Park (3409 Macomb St., NW)
Palisades Spray Park (5200 Sherier Pl., NW)
Guy Mason Rec. Ctr. Spray Park (3600 Calvert St., NW)

Ward 4:
FortStevens Spray Park (1327 Van Buren St., NW)
Lafayette Spray Park (5900 33rd St., NW)
Petworth Spray Park (801 Taylor St., NW)
Riggs LaSalle Spray Park (501 Riggs Rd., NE)
Takoma Spray Park (300 Van Buren St., NW) (more…)

via DC.gov

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking to the grocery store past 11th and Constitution NE and I had passed two on-duty police officers standing on the corner (the officers were seemingly on-duty, but I did not ask them. They had a patrol car and were in full uniform). One of the officers had politely asked me if I wouldn’t mind signing a petition to help put in place the Mayor’s plan to help end homelessness in the community. While I’m all about helping to end homelessness, I’m always hesitant to sign anything. I asked the officer for more information about the Mayor’s plan, and she could not provide any – she had just said it would support whatever plan the mayor proposes. I ultimately declined my signature and said that I would like to wait until I have more information about the plan.

I’d like to get the community’s thoughts on the following questions: Has the Mayor unveiled a detailed plan to end homelessness? Is the Mayor directing police officers to gather signatures for a petition? If so, does the Mayor have the right to do this? Shouldn’t we be making better use of police officers’ time, especially during these times of high crime?

The situation just rubbed me the wrong way, so I thought I would write to see what others think about it.”

Not sure about directing police officers to gather signatures but from the Mayor’s Office:

The Bowser Administration announced two legislative proposals that will be introduced later this month to strengthen the District’s homeless crisis response system. The first would amend the Homeless Services Reform Act to create an interim eligibility placement provision. This legislative provision would allow additional time for the District to determine shelter eligibility while at the same time ensuring the safety of families who have no identified safe alternative by providing them with shelter on an interim basis. The legislation would also provide families with a fair and speedy appeals process if it is determined they are not eligible for emergency shelter.

The second proposed legislative solution would clarify that the District may develop emergency housing that adheres to a private room requirement. These new emergency housing facilities will be safe, clean, modern developments with private rooms for families and the amenities and services they need to succeed in the long run.

You can read the full release here.

license plate

Thanks to a reader for sending in this cool plate spotted in Hill East. Back in 2012 we spoke about the “Bad Boys Club” license plate and before that we spoke about the too cool for school low number license plates assigned by the Mayor or the Council.

Anyone ever see a capitol plate like the one above before? What’s the best one you’ve seen. You can learn about the Anacostia River environmental ones here.