Category Archives: Editorials

Why DC Bill 22-663 is Bad legislation

The problem with DC Bill 22-663 is that the changes seem to reflect the agenda of major landowners and developers, and not necessarily the wishes of the people. This is not only our own opinions. The blogger “Eye On 501SW” writes:

“This is not the only issue where Office of Planning and the ANC are at odds. Certain elements within the city are currently proposing to strip the ANCs (and by default the communities they represent) of their say in community issues. This gutting would happen by a wholesale rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan that would essentially hand developers the keys to the city and remove many protections from communities.” [EyeOn501SW]

Not Good Changes

The strike-overs and edits on it show that this is core law being changed. Andrea Pawley in her blog, notes:

  1. Any plot in the city not built to the maximum allowable height in its area would be defined under the new bill as “underutilized” (213.4).
  2. The Future Land Use Map would no longer “express public policy” but instead only “generally depict public policy” (225.1).
  3. The current land use definitions would be eliminated and replaced by general descriptions open to subjective interpretation (223, 224, 225, 226).
  4. Neighborhood Conservation Areas would apply only to low density residential areas (223.4) – generally only the city’s richest neighborhoods – and would no longer be intended to conserve other, less affluent, established neighborhoods (223.5).
  5. Historic districts would be seen to have “unique opportunities for growth” (205.3).

These changes are not good changes. They are arbitrary and they seem aimed at shifting power to developers and big money and away from the residents of DC.

Need for Consent of Governed

Shouldn’t such things as this be reviewed by the people of the whole of the District constituency? Such radical changes in zoning law and permissive relaxations in regulation may reflect a power grab by developers unless the people of the district are onboard. The essential principle of law here that should operate is “consent of the Governed.” That consent is not effectively gained unless the people it is sought from are substantially informed and thus able to make an informed decision. Having relatively obscure public hearings is not a means to substantial information but to minimal informing of the public.

The Need for it to be a Public Referendum/Initiative

Something as radical as this should be publicly debated and maybe passed on by the voters. Passing dubious and possibly corrupting changes to the law like this without the “consent of the governed” would be an abuse of power on the part of the legislature and executive without such informed consent. Maybe the people of DC might be fine with anything goes rules for developers. But if it is passed without informed consent I doubt it. To quote Edward W. Young:

“The rule of law requires that people should be governed by accepted rules, rather than by the arbitrary decisions of rulers.” [Quote] One of those rules is consent of Governed.”

https://eyeon501sw.com/2018/03/16/zoning-commission-approves-set-down-hearing/
https://eyeon501sw.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/bill-22-663-comprehensive-plan-amendment-act-of-2018.pdf
Quote: http://www.quebecoislibre.org/000902-11.htm

Letter to the DC City Council on 22-663


Chairman Mendelson
DC City Council
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

 

Honorable Chairman Mendelson

 
The rule of law requires that people should be governed by accepted rules, rather than by the arbitrary decisions of rulers. These rules should be general known and certain, and apply equally to all individuals
by the government. The DC City Council, the legislative that has oversight over passing laws, should consider the value of a referendum vote by the constituency of the residents of the District of Columbia rather than the approach of changing the Comprehensive Law of the District of Columbia without input from the people.
Constitutional governments are based on a previous commitment to freedom under the rule of law. The essential attribute of these laws is based on the premise of implementation of a long term plan of action for the Development of Real Estate, coupled with consistency in the zoning set by time honored standard.

Sustainable Development requires reasonable Limits

The purpose of the Comprehensive plan is to allow a time line for residents to grow into the plan of action. To undermine those sustainable rights of citizens is a game changer that does not take into account the outcomes expected by the citizens prescribed within the current comprehensive law. The current legal binding law provides the stability of limitation and time set by the governments current law.

To undo the law based upon unreasonable timelines set by the government in midstream of the process undermine’s the constitutionalism rules.

Please understand the consequences,…

The question is what has happened to make you consider these change? You and most of the council members are respected community advocates. Please do not allow a process that facilitates the demise of the residual value of the human capital of the District of Columbia, that build this city Changing the comprehensive law affects everything from affordable housing, environmental & infrastructure issues to living wages, adversely effects, the residents ability to live within this city. It would be truly disingenuous of the council Council chair, an esteemed advocate of the people, bring this change order before the council without even considering a referendum vote by the people.
Please consideration a referendum vote by the citizens of the District of Columbia.

Michael A. Jackson
(202) 604-3097


School Heads Speak Out Against Gun Violence


More than 133 independent school heads in the D.C. area and Maryland, including many BSF member school heads, signed a letter about gun violence in schools. The ad was sponsored by AISGW in the A Section of the Sunday Washington Post and this past Wednesday in the Baltimore Sun.

The ad presents the perspective of these educators who live with children and young people. They hear the questions, provide information and feel the concerns of thousands of students in unique educational environments. The ‘adults’ ought to read this to amplify the voices of america’s schools.

Here is a link to the article:
https://www.aisgw.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AISGW-Ad_3-18-18.pdf

AISGW-Ad_3-18-18


Open Letter to Community

A open letter to the community:

There exist 400 jobs removing Asbestos in one building, at Walter Reed.
15,000 truck load a@ 20,000 pounds per load will be removed.
810 truckload of Asbestos, and no jobs for DC residents.

In fact the project manager for NorthStar stated to me he is not going to hire anyone from DC
GABIDDC.org g has prepared 4 EPA and OSHA certification courses to generate work for DC residents.
to date we have received one job for 1 residents who was terminated after his job was completed months.

It is no wonder crime in the neighbor hood is on the uptick. Without jobs what do you expect.
There exist no advocate to get work in the community for the community

Sincerely,

Michael A. Jackson
CEO
GABIDDC.org
(202) 604-3097

Happy New Year and GABIDDC Workforce Training Mission

Workforce Training / Employment / Scholarships, Help

A primary missions as the Georgia Avenue Business Improvement District Development Corporation (GABIDDC.org), is to teach and assist our constituencies in the District of Columbia through workforce training programs. We are operating on the principle that if you can teach a person to fish (or in this case perform a valuable skill) they will be able to fend for themselves.

This year one of our projects has been to stand up classes in environmental remediation and cleanup. We have developed training courses based on requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, (OSHA). We developed 5 courses and put these courses through rigorous review under supervision of the University of the District of Columbia. These classes are geared for implementation of environmental initiatives throughout the District of Columbia, as required by DC -Law 2-156 for workforce requirements.

Need your Assistance and Partnership

We only lack class space and students to begin teaching students across the city the skills they need so they can enter the workforce prepared and we can help them get placed in jobs where they can build their skills further and earn experience and be sustainably employed. We need your donations to go further and we are looking for partners in our effort from other charities, non-profits and workforce providers.

GABIDDC, the Black Student Fund, and our Other Partners all wish all a merry Christmas and a happy new year

Visit: www.gabiddc.org or BSF.org to see what else we offer.

Granting DCRA power to Validate Contractor Training Requirements

Mayor Bowser,

I thank you for allowing citizens to chime in on subject matter that is relevancy to the well being of our city. Last month you had a citizen call in specific to how to deal with the new administration. You did put into action in your discussion for infrastructure projects with President – elect Trump the possible of infrastructure upgrades. Our hopes as Washingtonians, are that through development of federal infrastructure, and DC government projects, the outcomes will include work opportunities for DC residents generated from Federal and former federal sites similar in format to Water Reed. I know some members of the City Council do not always follow through on mandates. dear to your core values, crime ,homeless, and workforce to name a few. They do not seem to get it, that the residual values of the citizens in the District of Columbia requires their support to fully bear the fruits of progress of Washington DC. Mayor Bowser thanks for being our voice and champion.

Expanding upon you letter related to facilitating expanding learning opportunities for DCPS students, we need the following. Expanding workforce initiatives for students graduating from DCPS High Schools, who do not have a clear paths to college requires additional training in workforce development. We still have the time save their well being to live and work in the District of Columbia, through your affordable housing initiatives. The lack of workforce training adds to the cost of government social services, and crime.

Generating more jobs is the solution, and the funding is available. I ask that you link workforce to infrastructure projects. Specifically, the next time you meet with President Trump, please show him the benefits of being a good neighbor, and President. He likes to build things! The suggestion serves his agenda nationally, and Mr. Trump could make the District of Columbia, the envy and model of his legacy for the nation. Through the designation of infrastructure projects as ” Department of Labor, “Designated Workforce Sites” grants funds are automatically put into play for workforce development. Additionally, the new director of the General Services Administration, ( GSA ) could clear the way for inclusive business and workforce development for DC businesses, and residents to participate in GSA federal projects in the District of Columbia. The relevancy nationally and within the District of Columbia, is to find the means to put people to work. The proposal is to assist the Federal government, and the government of the District of Columbia to meet workforce mandates in building infrastructure, through you window to advise Mr. Trump on this subject matter, you help DC and the nation. Please implement as a carrot,and the stick to generate what is required.

To insure placement of DC residents from any training courses for job’s required to be offered to District of Columbia residents by contractors under DC Law 2-156, under the Workforce Innovative Opportunity Act (WIOA) of the Department of Labor over $5,000 per student is available. To put teeth in the implementation process, we propose that DCRA/DOEE be given the administrative powers to verify compliance, for DOES.

Example of a Current Situation

The Department of State’s 44 acre portion of Walter Reed, has no will nor provisions for DC contractor or workforce requirements. We have spoken to the Director of the Department of State for Real Estate services,and like the city council, he is all talk and no substance. Before Walter Reed was disposition by the US Army, the Department of State and the developers promised inclusive development. GABIDDC.org, has prepared 5 courses for EPA and OSHA required for environmental scopes of work on any site for the purposes of implementation on the Walter Reed site, in collaboration with University of the District of Columbia, (UDC). The plan is to train others non-profits entities for coverage of all jobs sites in the District of Columbia. To date nothing has moved forward.
Presently the vast majority of DC residents eligible for (WIOA ) training are not getting any at all. The reason is there exist no accredited training facility in the District of Columbia. The outcomes are that DC residents do not generating the number of jobs that are possible. Most construction projects have issues related to EPA regulations. All projects require OSHA regulations compliance. The issue is the District of Columbia currently has no way of knowing the number of workers required to be certified to perform the scopes of work, (SOW). As a result people in the DC workforce do not get a fair opportunity to be hired, and the District of Columbia looses jobs, certification fee income, and tax dollars that will result in negative fiscal impact in out years. A solution is not possible without asking for proof prior to the start of work from the contractors,as to the specific composition of their workforce. Many contractors bring workers from out of town with expired or no EPA and /or OSHA credentials.

The Solution

Would you please mandate, that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, (DCRA) , and the Department of Energy and Environment, (DOEE) to be granted administrative powers to verify the number of EPA, and OSHA certified workers on site and certify compliance. The certifications are a federal requirement to perform scopes of work. Without knowing the number of worker required to perform the scopes, is where you might explore how to legally make a differences without going the council.

The Benefits

The outcome of a verification and validations system could determine, if contractors doing business in the District of Columbia have a certified workforce prior to being permitted to start work. Certified compliance will give all confidence that contractors are fulfilling workforce requirements. The process would generate revenues at $65.00 per license issued. DCRA and DOEE would collect approximately $650,000 dollars of fees generated from the certification courses I have prepared for approval by the Department of Energy and Environment. I prepared the courses for the University of the District of Columbia, (UDC), Career Pathways of UDC would benefit from the wraparound funds associated with the individual grants,as well as DHS,DOES, and DC Superior Court, CSOSA system. The proof of need, is verified by the unprecedented number building permits,that requires certified workers to perform the contract services, There exist over 10,000 workers performing scopes of work for contractors in the District of Columbia. We could be train 240 a year at UDC with your input. I have no juice to mover certain people to implement. We have submitted the five courses to (DOEE) for accreditation. similar to what I have certified for the university in previous years, see attachments. DOEE, is proactive and very helpful, in providing solutions. I am exploring a private sector solution with one of the city contractors.

Thank you for listening, your understanding. I hope the justification to establish the mandates is viewed as positive. The City Council has not determined the subject matter worthy of a response. You might visit our website at www.GABIDDC.org, Please review the archived written testimony delivered to the DC City Council on December 13TH 2015. A year has passed and the result are work is about to start,and /or started on 5 DC government owned sites and federal sites. Nothing requested from the City Council nor UDC is in place for your constituencies. I know you can’t do it all by yourself. This council needs to see your requests, and fine the will to implement what is needed.

Thank you
Sincerely,
Michael A. Jackson
(202) 604-3097

GABIDDC Needs You

My colleague Michael Jackson is on the verge of making real progress in his vision of providing Workforce Training to people who need it in the Washington Area. He is near having his classes stood up on hazardous waste identification, safe handling, cleaning and disposal. GABIDDC is about both representing and serving the Georgia Avenue area, Washington and people who need our help. We are doing good things, and need help to stand up workforce training classes and provide space for training.

Handyman/project needs

In the meantime Call Michael if you need help with plumbing, electrical, hazardous waste inspections/mitigation, or maintenance jobs around the house at 202 604-3097

We need your donations.

I’m trying my best to help him by donating my time and effort. But he needs your help too. This is the season for giving and if you give to us we can provide you a receipt so that your gift is tax deductible. We need money to get classroom space, to stand up Workforce Training Classes and to serve your needs. So this is the time of year to give!

Please donate to us by writing a Check made out to the Georgia Avenue Business District Development Corporation (GABIDDC):

And mail it to:
GABIDDC.org
3636 16TH Street. NW
C/O BSF unit 421
Washington DC 20010
Attention Michael Jackson

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwanza, Solstice, and New Year!

Managing Developers to Meet City Requirements

Managing Compliance

Recently an audit conducted by Auditor Kathleen Patterson concluded that:

“The District government is failing to ensure that developers fulfill pledges they make in exchange for tax benefits and loans, and hasn’t collected potential monetary penalties since the mid-1980s as a result, the city’s auditor said.” [Washington Post Article]

Requirements Management Needed Starting with the Contract

The city is not monitoring, tracking and reviewing performance of the projects under it’s jurisdiction:

“In August, Patterson’s office reported that the city’s oversight of at least two development projects showed that even as developers delivered on a variety of promises, city agencies “did not sufficiently monitor” compliance.” [Washington Post Article]

It takes a Program Office

To do this the City Government has to setup a system for documenting, tracking and monitoring compliance with contract requirements. As the article notes:

“There needs to be oversight of commitments that developers make,” [Washington Post Article]

Documenting Contractual Requirements

That starts with assigning an agency or contractor to function as a program office for managing the project requirements during the contract development period. As the contract is written, it’s requirements need to be be placed in a requirements database.

Developing and Documenting Deliverables

As the contract is finalized, the developer works with the program office to develop the technical details of how and when they will deliver on those requirements. These then become the deliverables needed to meet contract’s requirements along with priorities, milestones and due dates.

Tracking, Monitoring and Compelling Performance

That program office should then be responsible for tracking the deliverables and monitoring performance via status reports and milestone reviews. Each contract requirement deliverable should have it’s value to the developer and any penalties spelled out so that the program office can then enforce compliance.

Making sure they “do what they are supposed to do”

The purpose of the District providing oversight of projects is to ensure they are delivered in a way that meets (or exceeds) the districts needs in an affordable manner. This is a fiduciary duty of government. As Patterson notes:

“I work for the taxpayers and I need to make damn sure they do what they’re supposed to do.” [Washington Post Article]

Making a program office and specific officers responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance is best practices for doing this. It also helps avoid costly legal battles by ensuring that contract responsibilities are clear and agreed on.

Program Manager

Someone must be responsible for overall project compliance. That person within the government is a Program Officer. The Program Officer is given the authority to make sure that the persons responsible for project performance perform and that their progress is monitored week to week, month to month and at milestone reviews set in the contract. They ensure the deliverable are met and if not that action is taken to punish the transgression or remedy the shortfall.

Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR)

A Program Manager usually is assisted by a COTR. The COTR has the job of making sure that the developer or contractor with the project is paid if and when he she delivers on the contract requirements and deliverables. And of ensuring that action is taken when they don’t. The COTR also has overall responsibility for tracking those deliverables usually with assistance from Office Personnel who do data entry/IT/Database work or work with the project teams.

GABIDDC

Some of the requirements that the Audit found developers were not meeting, were workforce training and local hiring requirements. One of GABIDDC’s core missions is to ensure that City Wide Development, especially on public lands, is done in a manner that is sustainable and equitable to all citizens.

Our purpose is to do our part to ensure that all the citizens of this area have the opportunity to receive both the training and the job opportunities to be fully functional, free and independent citizens. Towards that end the City mandates that developers provide Jobs to DC residents.

GABIDDC is devoted to develop and facilitate the kinds of workforce training so that developers can meet the requirements for providing those jobs, and that citizens can fill job positions as they become available. That is why we are developing Workforce Training opportunities. It is also why we are proposing that the District use a requirements management system and program office to manage them.

GABIDDC can help projects like Hines Urban Atlantic to meet their workforce hiring requirements by providing recruiting and training services.

GABIDDC is doing what it can with limited funding, but stands ready to assist developers and the city in reaching it’s workforce requirements.

About the Author

Chris Holte is currently voluntarily assisting GABIDDC by helping with the website and working as CIO. He has 20 years+ experience working on projects and project management. He is the author of this article. The opinions expressed in this article are his own based on years of experience with IT projects, contract deliverables and requirements.

Read Full Story At Washington Post:
https:\www.washingtonpost.com\local\dc-politics\dc-govt-failing-to-hold-developers-accountable-city-auditor-says\2016\10\07\3ae4cdce-8b3f-11e6-b24f-a7f89eb68887_story.html

Economic Inclusivity

When one asks questions about economically inclusive applications for our 21 century American society, the question must start why are we not achieving the objectives? Generating better racial relationships, is just one aspect of the problem. What happened to the trickle down theories of economic justice?

It was a given on the 1990 through 2008 that America was on the verge of understanding inclusiveness and had the wisdom to implement strategic strategies for the empowerment of all Americans to achieve middle class status. This was the center piece in the balancing act of the American Dream. We had agreed in principal to get along in America, and it seemed the goals of extinguishing the racial and economic divides had achieved a foothold.

We had established those beachheads through the hard fought battles of the Civil rights, Women rights, and Gay rights movements. It seemed we’d made progress against national housing discrimination and that education stood tall as a priority. Unfortunately, all of these battles, are in fact still simmering in the under bellies of bad apples who feel empowered to breed racial and economic divides.

Using the same powers of “Freedom of Speech and the right to bear Arms” these bad apples, emboldened by hate groups, are redefining arguments and generating mayhem in America. Their philosophy, is endangering the core values and gains made through social and human evolution of mankind’s moral values. They are putting in danger our values of live and let live free in America; with this regressive language and behavior.

There exists not just something in the atmosphere. The situation is real and scary.

We as Americans need to remember the forward movement we’ve made. By not forgetting the past and what It has taken our forefathers to get to this point we can remember that America, is still a young and growing nation.

Growing pains we feel. Social and societal groaning we still hear. The struggle will continue for many years to come.

Just remember, whatever the realities are within your life, the vast scope of hard work our forefathers have put in to gain the progress that has gotten us to this point. We need to move the agenda forward, for the benefits for all to live and let live in peace and harmony. That agenda is still a moving target. There are some politicians who speak of “How to make America Great Again.” They need to remember what makes it great in the first place.