Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

Ed. Note: Yesterday we heard the other side.

From Councilmember Grosso’s office:

“The following is Councilmember David Grosso’s opening statement delivered at the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety hearing on the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, which would abandon the District of Columbia’s criminalization approach to sex work in favor of one that focuses on human rights, health, and safety:

“Thank you, Councilmember Allen, for convening this hearing today.

“This is a historic occasion as we consider how we as the government and the community should treat commercial sex and, most importantly, how we can better protect the human rights of the people involved.

“Earlier this year, along with Councilmembers Robert White, Brianne Nadeau, and Anita Bonds, I introduced the bill before us today, the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019.

“Over the past 3 years I developed this legislation in close partnership with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition, and the bill is in line with recommendations from Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, U.N. AIDS, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other human rights, public health, and anti-trafficking organizations.

“Since coming into office, I have met with and listened to sex workers and other people who trade sexual services for money as well as survivors of human trafficking.

“I met with them because all of my work at the Council is grounded in a human rights and racial equity framework.

“That means looking out for the human rights of the most marginalized communities, including people in the sex trade, and reconsidering policies that perpetuate racism.

“In listening to those most directly affected, I heard how criminalization and stigma cause tremendous harm to people in the sex trade. Read More

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Locations of Likely Human Trafficking Cases in the U.S. via Polaris

PoP-Ed. posts may be written about anything related to the District and submitted via email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail please include PoP-Ed. in the subject line.

Fully decriminalizing the sex trade in Washington, D.C. would increase the risk of sex trafficking
Brad Myles, CEO of Polaris

Proponents of legislation headed for hearing before the D.C. Council in mid-October would have you believe that the question of how to handle the sex trade in our city is a binary one: Either you decriminalize sex work, or you don’t. Period.

That’s no accident. Even the name of the bill – the “Community Safety and Health Amendment Act” – is designed to send this misleading message. The reality is far more complicated. This bill does not solely decriminalize sex work in an attempt to help keep people in prostitution safer. It also repeals crimes related to pimping, brothel-keeping, and sex buying, on the grounds that people in prostitution should not have their livelihoods interfered with in any way. In doing so, it increases the risk of sex trafficking for vulnerable people in the District.

Here’s the more complicated, honest version. The sex trade in DC is heterogeneous – a market ecosystem involving many different actors and impacting tens of thousands of lives. Some people are in the sex trade out of intentional choice. They exist, but it is a minority of the trade. Some of the most marginalized and vulnerable members of our society are exploited in the sex trade, or get involved out of desperation and lack of other options. Read More

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From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by DC Office of Planning (OP) Director Andrew Trueblood to release the Mayor’s Housing Equity Report and the District’s draft Comprehensive Plan proposal. By establishing goals specific to each planning area of the city, the Housing Equity Report makes Washington, DC among the first cities in the nation to create area-specific goals for affordable housing and dedicate an entire initiative to examining the barriers and opportunities within each area.

“What both the Housing Equity Report and the updated Comprehensive Plan recognize is that housing is a citywide challenge that requires citywide solutions,” said Mayor Bowser. “Washington, DC will continue to change – we can be sure of that. These plans are focused on how we manage that change and balance competing interests in order to ensure a vibrant, equitable, and resilient city, not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren.”

The Office of Planning and Department of Housing and Community Development collaborated to produce the Housing Equity Report. The report provides an analysis of current affordable housing distribution and proposes specific targets to achieve Mayor Bowser’s bold goal of building 36,000 new homes, including 12,000 homes affordable to low-income residents, by 2025. Read More

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From ANC Rep Alex Marriott:

“Many of you have reached out to ask about the recent shootings in the Shaw neighborhood and the steps MPD is taking to curb this violence. To respond to these questions, ANC 6E is holding an emergency special meeting at the Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library (1630 7th St., NW) on Wednesday (10/9) at 7:00 pm.

MPD Third District Commander Emerman will be in attendance, along with Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, to respond to our questions.

If you cannot make Wednesday’s meeting, ANC 6E is partnering with the United House of Prayer to hold a second meeting on the recent violence at 1721 7th St., NW at 6:00pm on Thursday (10/10).

Please come to one or both of these meetings and voice your concerns!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Caitlin Faw

“Dear PoPville,

I’m trying to find info on the DCRA website but am not having any luck – probably because I don’t know the proper terms for my issue.

We’re in a row house with a detached garage behind it. My anecdotal understanding is that we can keep a full structure where the garage is since it was built before the zoning laws changed. Unfortunately, the garage is falling down and we need to demolish it for safety’s sake but we can’t afford to rebuild it at the moment. Read More

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Police Parking Poorly


1600 block of V Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

This is the second time in a week (and umpteenth time this year) that the police have parked in our designated, residential handicapped parking spot. Not for emergency purposes, but for their convenience because we live across the street from the police station. The last time they did this they left the car in the spot overnight. I have at least a dozen other photos of them parking in our spot.”

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From the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Bowser was joined by Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham to kick off Crime Prevention Month in DC by providing updates on recent violent crime arrests, highlighting upcoming MPD community engagement events, and announcing overtime staffing plans to support the Department’s response to violent crime. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Wilfong

Thanks to all who passed on these emails:

“Many parents and caregivers are unaware that earlier this month, DC’s Department of General Services released preliminary test results that found lead on or in the rubberized surfaces of playgrounds at 55 DCPS schools, most of them elementary schools – including many in Wards 1 and 4. Seventeen of these playgrounds showed particularly elevated levels. Six playgrounds were temporarily closed, but the others remained open. No testing has been released yet for rec centers or charter schools.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 2 at 7pm at the Park View Rec Center in Ward 1 for an educational forum sponsored by the Park View UNC and DC Safe Healthy Playing Fields to learn more. You are also encouraged to sign up to testify at a DC Council hearing on the topic on the morning of October 3rd. Read More

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